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Journal of the International Association of

Buddhist Studies
Volume 22 Number 1 1999
One Name, Three Monks:
Two Northern Chan Masters Emerge
from the Shadow of Their Contemporary,
the Tiantai Master Zhanran m ~ (711-782)
Shandao et Honen, a propos du livre
de Julian F. Pas: Visions of Sukhavatf
Three Bodhisattvapi[aka Fragments from Tabo:
Observations on a West Tibetan Manuscript Tradition 165
Introduction to Alexander von Stael-Holstein's Article
"On a Peking Edition of the Tibetan Kanjur
Which Seems to be Unknown in the West"
Edited for publication by JONATHAN A. SILK 211
Shandao and Honen. Apropos of
Julian F. Pas's book Visions of Sukhavatf
(English summary) 251
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JIABS 22.1
Contributors to this issue:
CHEN Jinhua received his Ph.D from McMaster University in 1997 with
a dissertation on the formation of Tendai Esoteric Buddhism in Japan,
and is now doing post-doctoral research at Kyoto University. He has
published a book on Tiantai sectarian historiography (Studia Philo logic a
Buddhica Monograph Series no. 14, The International Institute for
Buddhist Studies in Tokyo) and is now working on a monograph on
Jerome DUCOR is privat-docent at the University of Lausanne. He holds
a doctorate in Japanology from the University of Geneva and has taught
East-Asian Religions at McGill University, Montreal. He is presently
curator of the Asia Department of Geneva's Ethnography Museum. His
interests center on Far Eastern Buddhism, in particular J6d6-shinshii.
http://www.ville-ge.chlmusinfo/ethg/ ducor/
Born in 1963 in Bonn, Ulrich PAGEL is currently Lecturer in Tibeto-
Mongolian Buddhism at the School of Oriental and African Studies
(London). Before joining SOAS in 1999, he had been Assistant
Professor of Tibetan Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and
Literature, University of Washington (Seattle) and had worked at the
British Library (London) as curator of the Tibetan manuscripts in the
Oriental and India Office Collections. His main research interest focuses
on the transmission of the 'Tibetan Kanjur, Mahayana literature and
Tibetan historiography. In 1996, he began to devote part of his time to
the preservation of the Tibet Autonomous Region Archives in Lhasa. He
is a co-founder and Chair of the International Tibet Archive Preserva-
tion Project (ITAPP) whose principal concern is the conservation and
cataloguing of archival heritage of Tibet.
Alexander VON STAEL-HOLSTEIN (1877-1937) was a specialist in
Buddhist philology, and held among other posts that of Professor at
Harvard University.
Jonathan SILK is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious
Studies at Yale University. His interests include Mahayana siitra litera-
ture, and the development of Mahayana Buddhism.
One Name, Three Monks:
Two Northern Chan Masters Emerge
from the Shadow of Their Contemporary,
the Tiantai Master Zhanran (711-782)*
For anyone with basic knowledge of Chinese Buddhism, the dharma-
name Zhanran which literally means "profound and tranquil (wa-
ter)," brings to mind the Ninth Tiantai Patriarch Zhanran (711-782),
who is accredited with the revival of the Tiantai tradition in the mid
Tang after a century of obscurity.! His prominence has led scholars to
mistake him with a Chan master with the same dharma name.
* A primary source of inspirations for me to write this article derived from the
work done by Professors Antonino Forte and Linda Penkower as well as my
communication with them. My teachers Professors Shinohara Koichi -,
Robert Sharf and Aramaki Noritoshi have, as always, sagaciously and
patiently advised me throughout the research done for this article. Professor
Hubert Durt read the draft of this article in different stages and made valuable
comments. Among friends providing assistance in the preparation of this article
are Elizabeth Morrison, Funayama Toru John Kieschnick, Elizabeth
Kenney and Catherine Ludvik. Finally, this article is a by-product of my research
on Sengcan, which is one project for my current two-year post-doctoral research
in the Institute for Research in Humanities (Jinbun kagaku kenkyusho
at Kyoto University I hereby acknowledge the
generous support the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS, Nihon
gakujutsu shinkokai B if) has provided for this post -doctoral re-
search. Finally, I want to thank the participants of the Tang Religion Seminar
headed by Professor Yoshikawa Tadao E J II of the Institute for Research in
Humanities at Kyoto University for their detailed and valuable comments on my
presentation about the research that is now incorporated in the present article.
1. The most recent and detailed study of Zhaman' s role in establishing the Tiantai
tradition as a whole is provided by Linda PENKOWER's 1993 Ph. D dissertation.
Her 1997 article represents a more focussed and refined study of the same issue.
There is near-consensus among Tiantai scholars that Tiantai enjoyed continuous
success and prosperity under the Sui dynasty and that its excessively close con-
nections to the Sui imperial family threw it into a drastic decline following the
establishment of the Tang. PENKOWER, following the lead of Japanese Tiantai
Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
Volume 22. Number I .1999
JIABS 22.1 2
A monk called Zhanran figured heavily in a 772 bid for imperial
recognition of the obscure monk Sengcan (d. before 604) as the
Third Chan Patriarch.
Scholars have usually regarded th,is Zhanran as
the great Tiantai master Zhanran, even though this identification creates
quite a few difficulties, suggesting as it does that one of the most out-
spoken Tiantai partisans ardently supported a different school by pro-
moting one of its patriarchs out of his obscurity. The identification is
even more far-fetched when we take into account the fact that Tiantai
Zhanran was a fierce critic of Chan. The steadiness with which Chan
followers aggressively gained ground during Zhanran's life stin:lUlated
and sharpened his sectarian consciousness, which expressed itself in
bitter criticisms of Chan.
Identifying a different and Chan-affiliated Zhanran resolves this
problem. It also, as we will see in this article, introduces us to the Chan
master Zhanran as a person of no little insignificance. Not only was he a
key player behind a series of important Chan campaigns, but he also,
scholars (Sekiguchi in particular, see SEKIGUCm 1959), has redressed Shimaji's
"Dark Age" designation of Tang Tiantai by working on regional and cultic
factions. Her work has to some extent deconstructed the notion of a Tang Tiantai
lineage exclusively based at the Guoqinsi temple. In one of my recent
articles and my newly finished book on Tiantai sectarian historiography, I also
questioned the validity of the conventional view regarding Sui-Tang Tiantai
Buddhism. In my opinion, the Sui rulers actually chose to neglect the Guoqiugsi-
based Tiantai group within a decade ofZhiyi's death in 597, while Tiantai seemed
to have been much more active and influential in the Tang (at least in the early
Tang) than Tiantai scholars have assumed (CHEN Jinhua 1999 and in press).
2. Of the first six Chinese Chan patriarchs, Sengcan is the only one not accorded a
separate biography in any of the three major Chinese monastic biographical
anthologies. Probably to compensate for Sengcan's obscurity, beginning in the
eighth century a series of campaigns, two of which are discussed in this article,
were launched to glorify him. I will discuss the legends related to Sengcan in a
forthcoming article tentatively entitled "Story and History: The Evolution of
Legends Related to the Third Chan Patriarch Sengcan."
3. In his work Zhiguan yili (Principles of meditation and contemplation)
Zhanran severely attacked Chan Buddhism by accusing it of over-emphasizing
religious cultivation (xiu and experience at the expense of
teachings and knowledge (zhi 920), the so-called "xiu er wujiao, zheng
er buzhi (cf. JAN 1988: 101). Furthermore, as some
Tiantai scholars correctly understand, Zhanran' s emphasis on the Tiantai panjiao
(ranking of Buddhist teachings) scheme was in fact a reaction to and stand
against the emerging self-consciousness of contemporary non-Tiantai Buddhist
sects, including Chan (PENKOWER 1993: 244-71).
more remarkably, became a Northern Chan leader who debated a chief
Southern Chan representative in an officially convened, large-scale Chan
council, held at the palace monastery in 796. Scholars have mistakenly
identified this .Chan master Zhanran with the Tiantai patriarch Zhanran
in spite of the fact that the del?ate was held exactly fourteen years after
the death of Tiantai Zhanran, and despite the fact that this Zhanran
enthusiastically defended the Northern Chan tradition by acrimoniously
denouncing the teachings of "Suddenness" advocated by Southern Chan.
This confusion of an obviously rather important Northern Chan master
with the contemporary Tiantai monk of the same name can be traced to
two factors. The first and more general issue is of course the failure to
keep the possibility open that two, or even more, contemporaneous
monks bore the same dharma-name. As I am to show in this article,
Tiantai Zhanran had a second contemporaneous and homonymous
"dharma brother," who, as a highly accomplished calligrapher, turned
out to be a bitter critic of Tiantai Buddhism and possibly a follower of
Northern Chan.
The other reason is more specific. Tiantai and Chan scholars have
failed to look more closely into the rise and development of the. Chan
campaigns for glorifying Sengcan. As a matter of fact, the campaign to
glorify Sengcan in the 770s was based on and a continuation of a cam-
paign of a similar nature that took place two and half decades earlier, in
which a monk called Zhanran had already participated. We will see that
the two related campaigns, examined together, will establish both the
identity of a Northern Chan master and build up the difficulties of iden-
tifying him with his Tiantai homonymous contemporary.
Furthermore, the epitaph reporting the Chan master Zhanran's partici-
pation in the Chan council fails to specify its date. This has enshrouded
the epitaph in mystery and prevented scholars from recognizing that the
Chan master Zhanran outlived Tiantai Zhanran by fourteen years.
Accordingly, in order to clarify the confusions originating from but by
no means limited to this Chan Master Zhanran, we must begin with an
in-depth investigation of a larger Chan propagandist project aimed at
promoting Sengcan's prestige, of which the 770s campaign was merely
one part. This leads us to the fifth year of the Tianbao ::7(. era (746)
under the reign of the Tang Emperor Xuanzong m ~ * (r. 712-56),
when the earlier campaign for Sengcan's fame began.
JIABS 22.1 4
I. Shangusi Zhanran and the Wangongshan Pagoda Erected in
Sengcan's Memory
An inscription ascribed to the renowned Tang bureaucrat Fang Guan
mJg- (697-63),4 which is now included in the Baolin zhuan .#1$,5
credits the erection of a pagoda in memory of Sengcan to the piety and
efforts of a local official called Li Chang *'m' (n.d.).6 Formerly the
Vice Prefect (shaoyin yj3") of the He'nan yfl]ii Comrnandery, Li Chang
was, as this inscription tells us, demoted in 746 to a new position,
Administrative Aide (biejia of the Prefect of Shuzhou
where Mount Wangong flJG011! was located.? It was generally believed
that Sengcan died at Wangongshan after living there for several years.8
The inscription as reproduced in the Baolin zhuan does not bear a date,
and the Baolin zhuan author does not take the trouble to date it. Another
source, however, establishes that it was written in 762.9
4. An important aide to Tang Xuanzong and Tang Suzong mli* (r. 756-62) after
they were forced into an exile in 755 by An Lushan *:t:hL! (?-757), who re-
belled against the Tang government, Fang Guan's biography is found in JTS 111
10: 3320-25, XTS139 15: 4625-28.
5. Compiled in 801 by an otherwise unknown monk called Zhiju 1&:1E (a.k.a. Huiju
n.d) (d. YAMPOLSKY 1967: 47, note 166).
6. In the XTS zaixiang shixi *i'i!t* (Lineages of the [Tang] Prime Ministers) Li
Chang is listed as a member of the Li dan of Zhaojun iElHill$.a; (XTS72 8:
2477). This was a prestigious dan in Tang, or even almost the whole imperial
China (JOHNSON 1977). Six branches of this clan alone produced seventeen
prime ministers for the Tang Dynasty (XTS72 8: 2599). Renowned literati-
bureaucrats (shidafu :kx) coming from this clan included Li Hua (710?-
766?), who was a fervent Buddhist follower and contributed numerous epitaphs
for Buddhist monks (for Li Hna's relation to Buddhism, see VITA 1988).
7. According to an account attached to Sengcan's BLZ biography, to be discussed
towards the end of this ,section, the edict for this re-installment was issued by
Xuanzong on the 13th day of the 7th month of 746 (BLZ 8: 40).
8. The attempt to associate Sengcan with Wangongshan can be traced back to two of
the earliest Chan historico-biographical texts, the Chuan fabao ji
(Record of the transmission of dharma-treasure) compiled ca. 710 (Y AMPOLSKY
1967: 5), and the Lengjia shizi ji (Record of the masters and
disciples belonging to the Lankiivatiira school), which was completed before 716
(BARRETT 1991). According to these two texts, Sengcan died on the mountain
after living there as a recluse for several years (YANAGIDA 1971: 167-68,371-
9. This date is given by Zhao Mingcheng (1081-1129), the Song compiler
of the linshi lu (Epigraphic Collection). Zhao Mingcheng provides the
This inscription narrates how during a visit to Wangongshan on his
way to a new position in Shuzhou, Li Chang paid a visit to Sengcan's
alleged tomb there. He was saddened to see that the caftkramal!-a (jing-
Xing was desolate and Sengcan's tomb overgrown with weeds.1O
This prompted him to renovate Sengcan's tomb, a decision which met
with widespread support. Accordingly, Sengcan's coffin .was disen-
tombed and his remains cremated. The cremation reportedly yielded a
quantity of sarfra, and a "treasure pagoda" was subsequently built in
Sengcan's memory.!l
following information for a stele which, numbered l378 in his huge collection, is
entitled "Tang Shangusi Can Dashi bei (The stele for Great
Master [Seng]can erected at the Shangusi in the Tang)": , 1*$ /\5T:S: '
("drafted by Fang Guan, hand-written by Xu Hao [703-79, biogra-
phies in JTS137 11: 3759, XTS85 16: 4965-66], in the bafenshu style. Erected in
thejianchen [third] month of the first year." SKSLXB 12: 8846). Here,
Zhao Mingcheng does not specify to which era this so-called yuannian j[;ij::
(first year) belonged. Three more entries, numbered l377, l379, 1380 (one
rightly preceding and two immediately following Fang Guan's inscription), are
also similarly dated. Actually, this yuannian indicates a singular period in Chi-
nese history without a reign name (nianhao ij::5l;'j;), which lasted for six months,
from Shangyuan J:j[; 2/9/21 when Suzong decreed the abolition of reign names,
and Yuannian 114/16, when the same emperor restored the reign name system by
introducing a new reign name - Baoying llB! (Hu 1988: 370-76).
10. , (BLZ 8: 40)." Usually, the word jingxing
refers to the practice of monks walking to and fro within a specific place in
between meditation sessions mainly for the purpose of warding off sleepiness. It
gave the body a chance to stretch so seated meditation could continue. It was
perhaps also a form of walking meditation (this was suggested by Elizabeth
MORRISON). As the word is used as a noun in this case, it indicates the place for
such an exercise. Another example of this usage of the termjingxing is found in
the inscription Yan Tingzhi (673-742), an important supporter of
Northern Chan (biographies in the two Tang histories found in JTS99 9: 3103-
06, XTS129 14: 4482-83), wrote for Yifu (661-736), one of the two chief
disciples of the Northern Chan leader Shenxiu t$5= (606?-706), "RJE.3?: ' wtm
0 'i:R1iMt'l:l ' (After [Yifu] arrived [at Mount Song],
Reverend [Fa]ru had passed away. Disappointed and sorrow-stricken, he tread
along the jingxing [where Faru walked in between his meditation sessions] for a
long while (QTW280 3: 2842a13)." The word used in this sense is equivalent to
the Sanskrit word calikramalJa, which can be a cloister, or a corridor of a temple,
some of the places for thejingxing exercise (cf. SOOTHILL 1982: 409).
11. An account in Sengcan's BLZ biography mentions that this auspicious sight
prompted Li Chang to donate a portion of his income to erect a pagoda for
Sengcan's memory.
JIABS 22.1 6
Like other Chan historico-biographical works, the Baolin zhuan con-
tains numerous 'legends and documents of dubious reliability. Therefore,
a few words are needed about the authenticity of this inscription ascribed
to Fang Guan before we begin to analyze its content in detail. The
Baolin zhuan biography of Huike 1I,PJ (487-593), the second Chan pa-
triarch, contains, an inscription supposedly written by a renowned
Buddhist defender Falin (572-640).12 Because of its reference to
an expression far post-dating Huike or Falin, this inscription has gener-
ally been considered a fabrication, which used Falin's fame to increase
Huike's prestige.
This might cast a shadow on the authenticity of Fang
Guan's inscription included in Sengcan's Baolin zhuan biography,
which immediately follows Huike's. However, the authenticity of Fang
Guan's inscription is supported by quite reliable sources. The stele with
Fang Guan's inscription is recorded in a Song collection of epigraphy.14
More importantly, as we will see in the next section, Fang Guan's
inscription was seen in person by a Tang writer who mentioned it in an
inscription he wrote in 773, that is, a mere ten years after Fang Guan's
death and eleven years after Fang Guan's inscription was written. The
ascription of this inscription to this Tang writer is, in itself, quite
reliable, a fact which will become clear in the next section. Therefore,
unless strong evidence emerges to argue for the opposite, we can accept
Fang Guan's inscription as authentic although we must, needless to say,
view its content critically.
Fang Guan's inscription describes the pagoda dedicated to Sengcan as
an awe-inspiring structure, huge and impressive,
, 0 ti*!i'fi'J# ' 0 A , flj[jt@,@;l't
0 , 0 ' 0
J I 0 15
Once the treasure pagoda was finished, it looked overwhelmingly magnificent.
The old woods in red and the new trees in green set each other off very beauti-
12. A Tang monk famous for his efforts to defend Buddhism from attacks, mainly
those advanced by Daoists. In addition to a separate three-juan biography of him
by Yanzong g'l* (557-610) (T no. 2051, vol. 50), he was accorded a biography
in the XGSZ (636b-639a).
13. The expression in question is dongshanfamen wJl.i:tF5 ("Teaching of the East
Mountain"), which did not come into common use until the time of Hongren
'1E. P.iJ, (602-75), the fifth Chan patriarch.
14. Cf. note (9).
15. BLZ 8: 40-41.
fully. Pine trees stand out among the forest, reaching out to the moon, which, in
turn, runs after the' feet of the polestar. The winding corridors seem to be em-
braced by the lofty ridges, while the drawn-out sounds of the bell reverberate
from the inlaid cliff. One can ascend to and descend from the pagoda from both
sides. The buildings
stand face to face, with [the pagoda] overlooking [the
temple] and [the temple] looking up at [the pagoda]. [The pagoda] lightens up the
deep ravine and illuminates the long river.
We note that sixteen years elapsed between the year 746, when Li Chang
determined to build a pagoda for Sengcan, and the year 762, when Fang
Guan took up his brush to write this inscription for the pagoda. If Fang
Guan was asked to write the inscription shortly after the construction of
the pagoda, it had taken almost 16 years to build it. Even given its
magnificence and size,17 it still seems unlikely that the construction of
the pagoda would have taken that long. This leads me to assume that the
memorial stele was not erected until several years after the pagoda had
been constructed. A passage in the inscription corroborates this
' . 7\3;fi)ltff ? . '
, , ' 19
But for the Honorable Li, the Administrative Aide of the Prefect, who would
have taken the initiative to build this pagoda, which has illuminated this place to
such an extent? But for shangzuo Huiqin (n.d.), sizhu Chong-
ying (n.d.), duweina Zhanran and Chan Master Daoyou
(n.d.),20 who would have protected and maintained this pagoda and brought a
[good] beginning to a [fruitful] result?
In addition to praising Li Chang's efforts to initiate the erection of this
pagoda, Fang Guan here underscores the role four monks played in
"protecting and maintaining" (baohu yinwei the pagoda after
it was completed. This means that by the time Fang Guan wrote this
16. The two buildings might refer to the pagoda and the Shangusi which was not far
from the pagoda.
17. The magnificence of Sengcan's pagoda at the Shangusi is also corroborated by a
poem by Dugu Ji which I will discuss in section (II).
18. The original text has the character hu 3j1. here. The context suggests, however,
that the character should befei (like the first sentence, the second was also or-
ganized by the same ... structure).
19. BLZ 8: 41.
20. Other than Zhanran, these monks mentioned here are otherwise unknown.
JIABS 22.1 8
inscription, the pagoda had already been completed and been under the
protection of the four monks for some time.
Since they are identified in terms of the three most important appoint-
ments of a temple (shangzuo, sizhu and duweina),21 the three monks
Huiqin, Chongying and Zhanran, along with Daoyou, whom Fang Guan
identifies as a Chan master (chanshi belonged to one and the same
temple, presumably the Shangusi in which, as Fang Guan tells
us, Sengcan spent his last years.
However, we cannot say that the four
monks were already at the temple when Li Chang visited it. We should
not forget the. desolate sight that greeted Li Chang when he ,:,isited
Sengcan's tomb in 746. Both the jingxing, which was close to if not in-
side the Shangusi itself, and Sengcan's tomb were deserted, a fact
strongly suggesting that the Shangusi did not function as a temple at that
time. Had the temple then housed a group of monks (no matter how
few), the place where the third Chan patriarch was allegedly entombed
would not have been so neglected.
In addition, it is Fang Guan's understanding that Li Chang himself
was exclusively responsible for initiating the construction of the pagoda
which, after completion, was entrusted to the four monks for protection
and maintenance. Had the four monks already been at the Shangusi, they
would also have participated in planning the construction of the pagoda.
In that case, Fang Guan would not have drawn such a clear-cut distinc-
tion between Li Chang's role and theirs and defined their role merely as
bringing "a good thing to a fruitful result." For these two reasons, we
have to think that the four monks including Zhanran were probably not
21. The sizhu (abbot; Skt. vihiirasviimin), shangzuo (head monk; Skt.
sthavira) and duweina (administer of the temple; Skt. karmadiina), joint-
ly called sangang ::::J[iii] (three principal monks), are the three most important
posts in a temple. As MICHIHATA and FORTE point out, usually the sizhu, rather
than shangzuo, held the highest leadership of a temple (MICHIHATA 1967: 98-
100; FORTE 1976: 87-88).
22. According to Fang Guan, the Shangusi was located on the south side of
Wangongshan. When Emperor Wu of the Northern Zhou (r.560-78)
waged a wide-scale persecution of Buddism in 574, Huike and Sengcan fled to
Wangongshan and lived at the Shangusi for several years. Although Fang Guan
also says in the inscription that Sengcan died in a dharma-assembly held on
Wangongshan, he seems to suggest that the assembly was held at the Shangusi
temple (I suggest a possible origin of the Shangusi at Wangongshan in my
forthcoming article about Sengcan).
at the Shangusi until the construction of the pagoda was underway or
completed .
.From the foregoing analysis of Fang Guan' s inscription, we can con-
clude the following about the monk Zhanran mentioned therein. First,
this Zhanran arrived at the Shangusi temple at Wangongshan sometime
after 746 and had been made the duweina of the temple no later than
762. Second, as one of the three chief monks of the Shangusi, he acted
as a care-taker of Sengcan's pagoda. Finally, his eminent status at the
temple where the third Chan patriarch was believed to have died sug-
gests that he was a Chan master.
Since to the end of this article we are going to make a reappraisal of
the validity of the conventional. view regarding Shenhui's ;f$1f (684-
758) connection to this campaign for Sengcan's prominence initiated by
Li Chang, we cannot close this section without some words on an
account at the end of Sengcan's biography in the Baolin zhuan, which
suggests that Shenhui played an important role in the erection of the
Wangonshan pagoda. As this account goes, it was through a talk with
Shenhui at the Hezesi in Luoyang that Li Chang learned of the
existence of Sengcan's tomb and its specific location.
This Baolin
zhuan account reiterates Shenhui's close connection to this movement of
glorifying Sengcan by stating that Li Chang presented one third of the
23. Sometime in 746 while serving in the He'nan Command, according to this BLZ
account, Li Chang visited the Hezesi in person and inquired of Shenhui, who was
then dwelling at the temple, about the location of Sengcan's tomb, since he was
concerned about the truth of a saying that Sengcan went to Mount Luofu 2 W
from which he never returned. Shenhui exhorted him not to place too much stock
in this kind of saying, assuring him that what is essential in Sengcan's teachings
was a piece of work which, "elegant in style and harmonious in rhyme, was
comprehensive in praising the Great Way , Jt:kErfffifllliJ'A)" (This
might have referred to the Xinxin ming [Inscription on relying on the
mind], a philosophical essay in rhyme attributed to Sengcan). Still, Shenhui
ended the conversation with the remark that Sengcan's tomb was located to the
north of the Shangusi at Wangongshan in Shuzhou. Even so, Li Chang remained
suspicious of the existence of Sengcan' s tomb. Shortly after that, he was demoted
and offered a new position in Shuzhou. Three days after he had assumed his new
job, Li Chang was visited by some local Buddhist and Taoist priests. He asked
his visitors whether or not there was a Shangusi in Shuzhou and whether or not
Sengcan's tomb was located behind the temple. To each of these two questions,
Li Chang received an affirmative answer from the shangzuo Monk Huiguan
!!fI.. Thus, accompanied by some officials, Li Chang went to the Shangusi to
visit Sengcan's tomb on the 10th day of the 11th month of that year (746) (this
BLZ account is paraphrased in Y AMPOLSKY 1967: 50-51).
JIABS 22.1 10
three hundred pieces of sarlra, which were collected from Sengcan's
cremated remains, to Shenhui, who erected a pagoda in front of the
bathhouse (yutangyuan at the Hezesi to house them).4
Shenhui's alleged role in the erection of Sengcan's pagoda, coupled
with the fact that Fang Guan at least once lent important support to
Shenhui when Shenhui was engaged in establishing his version of the
Chan lineage,25 led Hu Shi (1891-1962) to assume that Fang Guan
wrote this inscription under Shenhui's commission.
Since the Song
author Zhao Mingcheng dates Fang Guan's inscription to 762, Hu Shi
proposed new dates for Shenhui's birth and death (670-762), in cop.trast
to the traditional ones given by Shenhui's biography in the Song gao-
sengzhuan (686-760).27 These dates proposed by Hu Shi were
widely accepted by Chan scholars, including YANAGIDA Seizan,
ill until they were recently invalidated by a newly unearthed funeral
stele which, erected merely seven years after Shenhui's death, establishes
Shenhui's dates of birth and death as 684-758.
Since Fang Guan wrote
the inscription four years after Shenhui's death, it is doubtful that
Shenhui ever exerted any significant influence on Fang Guan's decision
to write it.
It must also be noted that this Baolin zhuan account states that in Tian
bao 10 (751), Xuanzong conferred on Sengcan a title "Jingzhi
24. As-for the rest of Sengcan's sarlra, this BLZ account informs us that haIf was
enshrined in the newly erected pagoda for Sengcan, while the other half was
worshipped in Li Chang's own house.
25. It is recorded in Huineng's SGSZ biography that Shenhui established at his home
temple, the Hezesi, a memorial hail (zhentang .'J:it) for Huineng, where Hui-
neng's portraits were probably hung (if the word zhen in the zhentang can be
understood as portrait, for the usage of this word as portraiture in the Chinese
Buddhist, especially Chan, literature, see FOULK & SHARF 1993-94). A general
under Xuangzong's reign Song Ding *JiiI. (n.d., described in some details in
JTS197 16: 5275) wrote an inscription for this hail. When Shenhui made a chart.
of the Indian and Chinese Chan patriarchs, Fang Guan penned a preface for it
' , '
26. DUMOULIN 1988: 104-05.
27. Shenhui's SGSZ biography has it that he died in Shangyuan 1 (760) at the age of
93 (757a).
28. For scholars who accepted the new dates of Shenhui suggested by Hu Shi, see
YANAGIDA 1967: 33, CH'EN 1964: 353, etc. For discussion of the implication of
the newly found epitaph of Shenhui, see WEN 1984, ZHANG 1991, McRAE
1987, and 1993-94.
(mirror-like wisdom)" and decreed that his pagoda be called "Jueji
(the tranquility of enlightenment)." This contradicts an inscription to be
discussed in the next section, according to which the conferral of the
title and name in question did not take place until 772. Finally, it must
be noted that the Baolin zhuan author has wrongly identified the cyclical
designations for two years at the Tianbao era.
All this
indicates that while we have to accept the authenticity of Fang Guan's
inscription included in the Baolin zhuan, the Baolin zhuan account rele-
vant to the 740s campaign for Sengcan's prestige cannot be read without
reservation. It is very probable that his strong ties to Southern Chan
caused the Baolin zhuan author to link by force this campaign to
Shenhui, who bore, in all likelihood, no discernible connection to that
campaign, a point to which we will return at the conclusion of this
ll. The Monk Zhanran in the 770s Campaign for Sengcan' s Prestige
Weare now in a position to consider another inscription attributed to the
renowned Tang writer and bureaucrat Dugu Ji 1Il:ml& (725-77).30 If
29. TheBLZ author gives yiqiu Zil:!! and gengyin as the cyclical designations
for Tianbao 5 (746) and 9 (750) (BLZ 8: 42, 44), while the correct ones are
bingxu FRiB<; and renchen ::fJ.iZ.
30. Entitled "Shuzhou Shangusi Juejita Sui gu Jingzhi Chanshi beiming
(Inscription for the stele dedicated to the pagoda of
Iueji, erected at the Shangusi temple in Shuzhou for the late Chan Master Jingzhi
of the Sui)," this inscription is found in Dugu Ji's Piling ji (The collect-
tion of Piling) (SKQS 1072: 228-30). It is also preserved in the QTW (QTW390
4: 5021a15-5022b14) and Fozu lidai tongzai (A general record
of successive Buddhist patriarchs; T2036.49.603a-604a). According to Zhao
Mingcheng, this inscription was written in the 12th month of Dali 8 (773) and
Zhang Chongshen 5:[m $ (n.d.) executed the calligraphy for it (SKSLXB 12:
8851). For a meticulous study of the textual discrepancies between the different
versions of this inscription as well as the significance of these discrepancies, see
YANG 1966.
Dugu Ii (Tang official biography in XTS 162 16: 4990-93) was renowned for
his administrative abilities and literary accomplishments. He was also famous for
his efforts to nurture younger gifted poets and writers (see MCMULLEN 1973).
Among those who benefited to different extents from his generous patronage was
Liang Su (753-93), the compiler of the Piling ji. (piling was Dugu Ii's na-
tive place in present-day Wujin :Ji\J! County in Iiangsu Province. In addition, it
is an interesting coincidence that Tiantai Zhanran was also a Piling native.)
Similarly successful in his official and literary careers, Liang Su is well known
for his close ties to the Tiantai master Zhanran, whom he respected as a master.
JIABS 22.1 12
authentic, this. inscription will attest to the involvement of a monk
named Zhanran in yet another campaign for Sengcan's prestige. Thus, as
with Fang Guan's inscription, the authenticity of this inscription must be
examined before its content is discussed.
In his postscript to the collection of Dugu Ii's works Liang Su remarks
that Dugu Ii wrote an inscription for Chan master Iingzhi (i.e.,
Sengcan).31 This confirms that the inscription in question must be
accepted as authentic, a fact also supported by Dugu Ii's close connec-
tion to the Shangusi, as is established by some of his extant poems.
Two, if not three, of Dugu Ii's extant poems are especially reve.aling
for what they tell us about Dugu Ii's Shangusi connections.
As sug-
Regarded as the most important lay disciple of this Tiantai master, Liang Su
composed an inscription for him (the inscriptionis quoted in part in Zhanran's
SGSZ biography; 740a3-9).
31. Liang Su believed that Dugu Ii wrote this inscription in order to expound the
abstruse teachings of Buddhism , QTW5l8
6: 5261a2-3).
32. In one of his surviving poems entitled "Yi Kaiwu Chanshi wen xinfacidi ji Han
Langzhong (To Vice-minister Han: A poem
written after visiting Meditation Master Kaiwu for the "procedure of the mind-
dharma"), Dugu Ii records his Buddhist understanding after a conversation with
a monk called Kaiwu:
, 0 , 0
, 0 ' ;gifitiWtHI
(QTS247 8: 2771).
Deep-rooted kannic hindrances have made me hear the way late;
dull faculties hinder me from transcending the worldly realm.
We have accustomed ourselves to the dusty world.
Already lost on the way, we still congratulate ourselves on the
. security of the way. -
Only by realizing the illusion of the dust-like human body
did I come to appreciate the roundness of the forehead-pearl!
In order to recognize the principle of the tathiigata,
you just try the taste of dharma!
This Kaiwu must be the monk whom Dugu Ii mentions in his inscription as a
monk of the Shengyesi who, coming from Lujiang in 772, joined Zhanran at the
Shangusi before eventually becoming one of the six petitioners. If this is true,
Dugu Ji must have written this poem either during his visit at, or after a trip to,
the Shangusi, where he received from Kaiwu instructions in Buddhist teachings.
It is interesting to note that the title includes the expression xinfa cidi
(the "procedure of the mind-dharma"), which also appears in the petition the four
Chan monks headed by Shangusi Zhanran sent to Dugu Ji and Zhang Yanshang
before it reached the court. This petition will be discussed below.
gested by their titles and contents, these poems were written during his
stay at the Shangusi. One of them is of particular interest for US.
reads as follows:
... o
, 0 ' 0 34
As the heavenly edict arrived in the dharma-hall,
my decaying body basked in the glorious lights.
Deriding myself for the lack of merits and virtues,
I feel that this extraordinary imperial grace has been misplaced.
Having been promoted to the jianli Bureau,35
33. In comparison with the poem itself, which is only 40 characters, the title of this
poem is unusually long (twenty-eight characters 1): "Muchun yu Shangusi shang-
fang yu enrning jiaguan cifu chou Huangfu Shiyu jianhe zhi zuo 1ft!::IFi' UJ fr
(Responding to Censor Huangfu's
congratulatory poem on the occasion in the late spring at the Shangusi, an exalted
temple, when I was blessed by an imperial decree raising my rank and bestowing
a robe on me)." In addition, for the sake of the discussion to be made below, it is
important to note that the designation appearing in the title of Dugu Ii's poem,
"Huangfu Shiyu ,lj:HIH'if1iEP (Censor Huangfu)," refers to Huangfu Zeng
(?-787), the younger brother of Huangfu Ran m -14, who wrote a poem about a
monk called Zhanran, the abbot of an important temple in Luoyang (see Section
[N]) (no historical record, including his one-line XTS entry [XTS202 18: 577l,
rightly after his older brother's XTS biography], gives the date of Huangfu
Zeng's death. The date given here is provided in Fu 1987: 575-76). That Huang-
fu Zeng served as a Censor is corroborated by the following two sources. is
his ITS entry, which tells us that he was once appointed as an "Investigating
Censor" (jianchayushi The other is Dugu Ii's preface to the collec-
tion of HuangfuRan's works which Huangfu Zeng compiled shortly after his
death. This preface also refers to Huangfu Zeng as Censor (yushi 1iEP1lE, QTW
3904: 3941a8-9).
34. QTS247 8: 2771.
35. The jianlishu or jianli refers to the place where a shangshulang
(minister) performed his duties (Luo 2: 911). It also indicates the libu 1t
(Bureau of Rites, MOROHASHI 4: 660). Thus, to be promoted to the jianlishu
was to be appointed as a minister in the central government. According to Dugu
Ji's memorial to the court expressing gratitude for this honor, he was appointed
langzhong cP (director) of the jianjiaosi (Bureau of Inspection) (QTW
3904: 3919a9). This is confirmed by his XTS entry, which records that during
his tenure in Shuzhou Dugu Ji performed his duties so brilliantly that he was
named the director of the Bureau of Inspection and the imperial court bestowed
on him ajinzi robe (XTS162 16: 4993). Given that he continued to act as
the prefect of Shuzhou after this appointment, this new title was more or less
JIABS 22.1 14
I further had my name listed in the "Chapter of Kuaiji."36
Already shamed by being presented with your fabulous poems,
How could I stand being called a "benevolent man"!
The poem was written in the aftermath of a remarkable honor Dugu Ji
received from the court while serving in Shuzhou.37 As this poem
stands, it was in the Shangusi dharma-hall that Dugu Ji received the
imperial edict which acknowledged his merits and abilities. This strikes
the reader as extraordinary and suggests at least two things. One, Dugu
Ji maintained an unusually close connection to the Shangusi. Two,
during his time in Shuzhou, he visited the temple frequently and
sively enough that the imperial commissioners had to seek him out there
to announce to him the imperial edict.
Another poem he wrote at and for the Shangusi corroborates these two
points. Bearing a similarly long title,38 this poem expresses Dugu Ji's
profound enthusiasm for this temple. It also demonstrates his ample
knowledge of the Shangusi history and its related legends, among which
were, of course, those about Sengcan and Li Chang:
' 0
, 0
' 8 0
/f , 0 41
36. Meaning unknown.
37. See note 33.
38. The title of this poem reads, "Deng Shangusi Shangfang da Huangfu Shiyu woji
quepei cheji zhi hou (Mounting
the exalted temple of the Shangusi, responding to Censor Huangfu' s poem titled
'woji quepei cheji zhi hou (Sickness prevented me from
following you).'"
39. In the QTS version, an interlinear note, added by Dugu Ji himself or by Liang
Su, the compiler of his collection, or by one of the QTS compilers, follows this
line of the poem: "A stone at the central place of the temple bears a mark, which
was, according to a tradition, left by the horse of Han Wudi (r. 141-88
BC) '
40. An interlinear note follows, "The pagoda of the third patriarch of the Chan school
was at this temple. In the Tianbao era, Administrative Aide Li Chang opened the
coffin and cremated his golden relics. Li Chang collected the sarfra produced
from the cremation and erected a pagoda to worship them
Jt:ttJlt:f:JJ 0 7:. 9=1 ' !&'@rflJ ' Like
the previous note, this interlinear note could also have been added by Dugu Ji
himself, by Liang Su, or by a QTS compiler.
41. QTS247 8: 2776.
With the Buddhist Palace and fragrant pavilion reaching out for rosy clouds,
Watch on the pahns the lofty Mount Tianzhu.
Grasses spread where the Han ruler's horse left its traces,
The Dharma-king demonstrated his body and form in the empty coffin.
The "rising pagoda" backed by clouds dwarfs the blue sky,
The meditation court covered by pine trees makes a scorching sun look cold.
Not seeing Dai Kui
depresses me;
Fortunately, your new verses are comparable to the langgan
Dugu Ji's close ties to the Shangusi must have made him the obvious
candidate when the Shangusi community began to search for a re-
spectable personage to write an inscription for a stele newly erected to
commemorate the conferral from the court of a title and name for Seng-
can and his pagoda, which was so important for Chan Buddhism in
general and the Shangusi in particular.
Having discussed its authenticity, we are now ready to look at the
inscription more closely. After a brief description of Sengcan's life and
teachings, Dugu Ji professes in the inscription his own respect for
Sengcan and intense interest in the stories related to him. He tells us that
after taking up his office in Shuzhou in 770 (i.e., Dali *1Ji 5 [770]),45
he "visited the old residence of Sengcan [at the Shangusi], exhaustively
inspecting the old traces left by him and carefully investigating his
stories."46 All this suggests that Dugu Ji was much more than a witness
42. Tianzhufeng 7'2ttll$:, literally "heaven-bolstering peak," is located close to Wan-
gongshan, Sikongshan (another mountain at which Sengcan and Huike
were believed to have stayed).
43. (326?-96), a Buddhist lay believer good at playing the harp and sculpting
Buddhist images (his biography in JS94 8: 2457-59).
44. A famous and beautiful type of jade.
45. As for his appointment to the post of the Shuzhou prefect, Dugu Ji says in the
inscription, "five years after the emperor ascended to the throne, the year with the
'cyclical designation' gengxu, I became the prefect of this prefecture
1$t.lii- ' , QTW3904: 3973a7-8)." This is misleading,
since it implies that he was appointed the Shuzhou prefect five years after "the
emperor" (Daizong 1-1;;* [r. 762-79]) was enthroned; that is, in 766 (Dali 1).
However, the cyclical designation corresponding to the year 766 was bingwu
p:;jq:, not gengxu. According to his XTS biography, Dugu Ji began his political
career at the end of the Tianbao period (742-56) (JTS 190 16: 4990). He died in
777. Thus, he served between 756 and 777, during which time the only year with
gengxu as its cyclical designation was 770 (Dali 5). Therefore, what Dugu ji
really means here was "the fifth year after the new reign era (i.e., Dali) was
46. "Jtrf/!i1HItf<5 ' ' IJJ'!it/OOJ (QTW390 4: 3973a7-9)."
JIABS 22.1 16
to or supporter of this campaign for Sengcan's prestige. He probably
had a hand in orchestrating it.
After this, Dugu Ii relates Li Chang's story. He says in the inscription
that the cremation of Sengcan's remains and the erection of a pagoda for
him were commenced by Li Chang in the gengxu year of the
Tianbao era (746).47 Here, Li Chang was referred to as "Administrative
Aide to the prefect, the Honorable Li Chang of Zhaojun, who was
formerly Vice Prefect of the He'nan Commandery."48 Mention is also
made of two inscriptions dedicated to the memory of Sengcan, by Fang
Guan and the renowned Sui writer Xue Daoheng i3m1tr (538-?)
tively.49 Dugu Ii suggests that he himself saw on Wangongshan the two
bearing these two inscriptions. All these references to Li Chang
and his connection to the Wangongshan pagoda for Sengcan precisely
accord with what Fang Guan had already written in his inscription. By
47. Here the cyclical designation bingxu was written asjingxu, for the character bing
was tabooed during the Tang (Tang Gaozu's mr.ttl [r. 618-26] father had been
named bing fig; see CHEN Yuan 1997: 147). The year in the Tianbao era with the
cyclic designation of bingxu falls in 746.
48. (QTW390 4: 3973a9-11)." This presentation of
Li Chang's identity accords with that made by Fang Guan in his inscription:
(BLZ 8: 40)." The probability is high
that Dugu Ii based himself on Fang Guan's inscription in describing Li Chang.
On the other hand, the QTW version of Dugu Ji's inscription has the character
for Li Chang's name as Chang", rather than Chang 1j!;, which is given by the
Piling ji version (SKQS 1072: 229a6) and Fang Guan's inscription as well.
49. Both the Sui shu ll1l'ii and the Bei shi accord Xue Daoheng a biography
(SS 5: 1405-13; BS 5: 1337-40), without giving the date of his death (in my
forthcoming article I discuss this problem in connection with his alleged inscrip-
tion for Sengcan). A composition included as an appendix (juJu in the
Piling ji not only mentions but also quotes from Xue Daoheng's inscription for
Sengcan (SKQS 1072: 231b5, 231b8-10). This seems to support the saying that
Xue Daoheng contributed an inscription to Sengcan. Apparently, this
tion was not written by Dugu Ji. Judged by its title, "Shangusi Juejita chanmen
disanzu Jingzhi Chanshi ta beiyinwen
(A composition inscribed on the back side of the stele for the pagoda of
of Jueji at the Shangusi temple, dedicated to [the memory of] Meditation Master
Jingzhi, the Third Chan Patriarch)," it was inscribed on the back side of the stele,
the right side of which bore Dugu Ji's inscription for Sengcan (according to the
yinyang theory, anything bears two sides, with the right one called the
yangmian and the other called yinmian As a general rule, a beiyin-
wen composition recorded the circumstances under which a memorial stele was
erected, the corresponding inscription was composed, etc.
acknowledging Li Chang's leading role in cremating Sengcan's remains
and erecting the pagoda for him, Dugu Ii understood the campaign then
underway at Wangongshan to be a continuation of a movement initiated
twenty-six years earlier at the same place. This becomes clearer when
Dugu Ii implies that Fang Guan and Xue Daoheng were his predecessors
in contributing inscriptions to Sengcan.
Dugu Ji's inscription continues by saying that although a pagoda was
established for Sengcan and a prestigious official like Fang Gua.'l already
wrote an inscription for his pagoda, the "political turmoil," by which he
referred to the An Lushan rebellion zJiL (755-63), had prevent-
ed the government from carrying out the ceremony of "glorifying the
worthy by conferring on him an appropriate title."5o At this point, Dugu
Ji describes a monk called Zhanran spearheading a petition to the Tang
court for imperial recognition of Sengcan's status as a Chan patriarch:
' 0
0 ' , 0
, '
0 Eli'WlX ' :f:L1'ifP ' WEL1'* 0 'fI{fl'{i:tL:z!s: '
ttl 0 51
His Reverend, Zhanran, has recited slUras under the "numinous pagoda"
(lingta :tl:f:). His age has increased with the pine trees beside the ravine. He felt
it a pity that the name of his "late patriarch" (xianshi 7'G ffi) has not been officially
recognized by the government. Sharing a common sense of respect for Sengcan,
Zbanran and the Great Preceptor Monk Chengjun (n.d.)52 of the Chan-
zhongsi temple eagerly petitioned to the government [for the sanction of
Sengcan]. It so happened that in that year the Huirong (n.d.)
of Mount Song arrived from GuangJing . and the Kaiwu F7J
'1% (n.d.) of the Shengyesi temple arrived from Lujiang ffI1I.54 All to-
gether, they compiled the instructions left by the seven generations of Chan
masters after the Chan Master [Sengcan]. Day after day, they lamented that
Sengcan's pagoda had not yet been blessed with an official name and a lofty title
50. , , ' (QTW390 4: 3973a
51. QTW3904: 3973a12-17.
52. Otherwise unknown.
53. Nothing else is known about this monle Guangling corresponds to present-day
YaIlgzhou :J?IHI'1 City in Jiangsu Province.
54. As noted above, Dugu Ii left a poem communicating his Buddhist understanding
after a conversation with Kaiwu. Lujiang was in present-day Lujiang City of
Anhui Province.
JIABS 22.1 18
had not yet been conferred on Sengcan. They feared that the principle of the
"Resemblance Teaching (xianifa would collapse to the ground.
Their fear led them to act. They embarked upon a new campaign for
imperial recognition of Sengcan. A petition was sent to the court,
proposing that an official title be given to honor Sengcan. Dugu Ii's
memorial inscription fails to report the content of this petition,. for
which we have to turn to a different source, an imperial edict approving
Zhanran's petition, which enables us to glimpse the content of the peti-
tion, how it was handed up to the court and how the court responded to
This edict begins with the following remark: "Zhang Yanshang 5:IU[1t
(727-87),56 the Inspector-in-general of Huainan, the Commander of the
Great Area Command of Yangzhou concurrently the Censor-in-chief,
submitted a memorial to the court to report a memorial sent from the
Shuzhou prefect Dugu Ii, who, in turn, received a memorial from Monk
Zhanran and other monks."57 From this we know that Zhanran and the
other three monks initially filed the petition to the Shuzhou prefectural
government before Dugu Ii, the Shuzhou prefect, transferred it to Zhang
Yanshang, the head of the Yangzhou Area Command, whose jurisdiction
covered the Shuzhou prefecture at the time. Eventually, it was in the
name. of Zhang Yanshang and in the form of a memorial that the
petition was handed up to the central government.
55. The QTW includes a composition attributed to DuguJi. As indicated by its title,
"Shuzhou Shangusi shangfangchanmen disanzu Can Dashi ta ming
(QTW392 4: 3991a9, An inscription for the pago-
da 61 the Third Patriarch, Master [Senglcan, which was located at the
Shangusi, an exalted Chan temple in Shuzhou Prefecture)," this composition has
been regarded as another inscription Dugu Ii wrote for Sengcan's pagoda at the
Shangusi. However, a reading of the text shows that it is actually an edict from
the court approving the petition regarding Sengcan' s official title. As soon as we
refer to the Piling ji, this mistake becomes more evident. In the Piling ji, this
composition is attached to Dugu Ii's inscription for Sengcan's pagoda. It is
therefore possible that the text of this edict was also inscribed on the memorial
stele as proof of the imperial recognition of Sengcan's patriarchal status in Chan
56. His biographies in the two Tang histories are found in JTS129 11: 3607-10,
XTS127 14: 4444-47.
M:&!tk ' (QTW392 4: 3991alO-ll)."
The edict then summarizes the petition drafted by Zhanran. Notwith-
standing its brevity, the summary attests to the deliberate way Zhanran
and his partners had worked out their case. They declared that since the
Great Master Sengcan had died approximately two hundred years
previous, his "procedures of mind-dharma (xinfa cidi had
been gradually accepted and highly esteemed by the world. Among those
who transmitted the teachings left by Sengcan were, they said, the late
preeminent Chan masters Shenxiu and Master Puji (651-739), who
received posthumous titles from the court and upon whose pagodas the
court conferred official names.
At this juncture, Zhanran and his
fellow-monks brought to the imperial attention a disturbing contrast.
While these two spiritual descendents of Sengcan were splendidly hon-
ored, their patriarch Sengcan, who "represents the 'robe and bowl' of
the saintly and the worthy, the ford and bridge to the dharma-gate
' remains neglected, as the "place where
his relics were buried (:51-itz:l:fu)" has not yet been blessed with the
"ceremony of renaming (iSzit)." On the basis of this, they aired
their fear that the "sacred ceremony of honoring the Way and respecting
the teachings is still lacking." 59
Zhanran and his partners pushed their case further by appealing to the
filial piety the emperor was supposed to have cherished towards his
deceased father. As the anniversary of the death of Suzong was
approaching, they said in the petition, they respectfully begged that in
accordance with the example set up in the Kaiyuan era when Puji was
posthumously entitled Dazhao, a posthumous title be conferred on
Sengcan and an official name be bestowed on his pagoda. They also
suggested that seventeen monks be selected from several temples to keep
58. According to the SGSZ (756a29, 760c21-22), each of Shenxiu and Puji received
a posthumous title from the court of Zhongzong "f:l * (r. 705-09) and Xuanzong
(Datong :;kJm [Great Penetrating] for Shenxiu and Dahui [Great Wisdom]
for Puji). But the SGSZ does not report that the government erected pagodas in
their memory.
59. (QTW3924: 3991all-15)."We shall see that it was after
Shenxiu and Puji, two of his alleged successors, received titles that Sengcan was
conferred a posthumous title by the imperial court. Interestingly enough, a parallel
example is found in Japanese Tendai Buddhism. The Japanese imperial court did
not confer a posthumous title of Daishi :;k@jj] (Great Master) on Saicho
(767-822) until several years after it did so on Ennin 11lH= (793-864), the
second generation successor to Saicho (cf., RErSCHAUER 1955: 33; FORTE forth-
coming a).
JIABS 22.1 20
the pagoda clean and honor the spirit of Sengcan. They declared their
wish that the merit accumulated from these deeds be transferred to the
sacred spirits of the late emperor. 60 Apparently, this struck a chord with
the emperor. On the twenty-second day of the fourth month of Dali 7
(772), an imperial edict was issued to entitle Sengcan Iiugzhi and
name his pagoda Iueji The emperor also announced in the decree
that seven monks of "great virtue" (dadeseng be assigned the
duties of keeping the pagoda clean and worshipping the spirit of
Thus concluded successfully this new phase of the Chan
propagandistic project, which was so deliberately planned and enthusias-
tically pursued by several Chan believers, both cleric and lay. .
After reviewing the 772 petition for Sengcan's prestige, we are now
ready to identify the monk called Zhanran as described in Dugu Ii's
inscription. One thing is clear. He is a Chan master, not only because of
his designation of a Chanshi
in Dugu Ii's inscription or his temple
affiliation (Shangusi's alleged association with Sengcan made it by defi-
nition a Chan temple), but also because he referred to Sengcan as xianshi
60. QTW3924: 3991aI5-17.
61. QTW392 4: 3991aI6-b3. It should be observed here that the names of Yuan Zai
(?-777) and Wang Jin .:Ef,; (700-81) also appear in the edict approving
Zhanran's petition (QTW392 4: 3991bl-2). As the younger brother of the
reputed poet Wang Wei .:Ef.i1E (701-61), Wang Jin himself was a renowned bu-
reaucrat and poet. The Wang brothers were known for their passion for
Buddhism (their biographies in the two Tang histories in JTS118 14: 3416-18,
XTS145 15: 4715-17). What is of particular interest of Wang Jin for us is that a
secular friend of the monk-calligrapher Zhanran, Huangfu Ran, who is to be
discu.ssed in Section (IV), once worked under Wang Jin. Also a devout Buddhist
believer, Yuan Zai was another leading minister of Daizong (his biographies in
JTS1l8 10: 3409-16, XTS145 15: 4711-14). Given their enthusiasm for
Buddhism (cf. WEINSTEIN 1987: 79-80), it seems safe to speculate that Wang Jin
and YuanZai also contributed to the approval of the petition.
62. The termchanshi t.gjjj (literally, a Buddhist monk practising meditation) did not
necessarily indicate a monk affiliated with Chan Buddhism (the so-called Chan-'
zong t.*). As a matter of fact, many Buddhist monks (e.g., some early Tiantai
patriarchs like Huisi and Zhiyi), who were active much earlier than the formal
appearance of Chan Buddhism as a monastic community with an independent
lineage, were themselves classified as chanshi in traditional biographical
accounts. This said, it should be noted that by the time Dugu Ji prepared this
inscription for Sengcan's pagoda, that is, in the 770s, the Chan tradition had so
strongly emerged as a key player in Chinese Buddhism that the designation
chanshi almost became its patent.
:5tJffl (the "late master/patriarch").63 Moreover, this Zhanran, as depict-
ed in Dugu Ii's inscription, was a Northern Chan follower in the line of
Shenxiu, Puji and Hongzheng *IE (n.d.).64
Dugu Ji recounts in his inscription that Zhanran and the other three
monks met to compile the instructions left by the seven generations of
Chan masters after Sengcan.
The implication of this statement becomes
clear when we read a passage in the inscription that outlines such a Chan
' , '
0 ' )! ' i:!1 0
, 63. As a general rule, in the medieval Chinese Buddhist literature the word shi g[ji
could mean one's monastic supervisor or a patriarch who was highly respected
within a certain religious circle as a source of authority (in this sense, the person
was called zushi t.l3.g[ji or zongshi *g[ji). Accordingly, the termxianshi could de-
note one's late master or a patriarch in one's lineage. Since Sengcan and
Shangusi Zhanran were separated too far in time to have been master and
disciple, xianshi here must be understood as "late patriarch," rather than "late
64. Dugu Ji's inscription presents Hongzheng as the most important disciple of Puji.
However, the fact that he was not even mentioned in Puji's epitaph calls this
supposed status of Hongzheng into question (for a brief discussion of this monk,
see MCRAE 1986: 68). Interestingly, most of the few information we know about
this monk derives from that about his disciples, like Qiwei and Changchao (to be
discussed below), in addition to Shangusi Zhanran and his three partners at the
Shangusi, all of whom were also, very likely, Hongzheng's disciples. In addition,
the Lidai fabao ji (Record of the dharma-jewel through the ages)
mentions a Meditation Master Hongzheng sLi5c of the Shengshansi in
Luoyang as the master of an otherwise unknown monk called Tiwu ft1llli, who
once engaged in a bitter debate with the Chan master Wuzhu 1Illi{3:. (714-74) of the
Chan sect known as Jingquan-Baotang 1*-f*Jl!f branch (T2075.51.190b). We
can assume that Hongzheng led a Chan group in rivalry with the Jingquan-
Baotang sect, supposed the Hongzheng mentioned in the Lidai fabao ji can be
identified as Hongzheng in Dugu Ji's inscription, as is strongly suggested by DU
(DU 1993: 197) and McRAE as well (MCRAE did not make explicit reference to
the Lidaifabao ji mention of Hongzheng, but since he identified Hongzheng's
temple-affiliation as Shengshansi and the Lidai fabao ji represents, as far as I
know, the only source of claiming this temple-affiliation for Hongzheng, I
assume that MCRAE was here referring to the Lidaifabao ji record and that he
considered the two Hongzhengs as the same monk).
65. (QTW390 4: 3973a16)."DU understands this phrase
differently in his 1993 book. According to him, this refers to the Northern Chan
lineage from Bodhidharma, through Hongren and Shenxiu, to Puji (the seventh
patriarch) (DU 1993: 198).
JIABS 22.1 22

, ' 0 . B*lE 0
. 0 ]jJ(;1l:;i'm ' 0 66
Of those seeking the Way from the Chan Master (Sengcan) at the time, there
were some who, with shallow accomplishments, still realized that none of the
artificial dharmas was not illusion; there were others who, with profqund
understanding, were enlightened to Buddha-nature on hearing one word only -
their enlightenment was brought about as spontaneously as a lamp lightens things
up. One who was an ordinary person in the morning became a sage in the
evening. The Great Master DaOlan m:ffi (580-651) of Mount Shuangfeng was
exactly such a person. Later, Reverend [Dao]xin transmitted his teachings to
Hongren. Reverend [Hong]ren transmitted his teachings to Huineng (638-
713) and Shenxiu. Reverend [Huilneng retired to and spent his late years at
Caoxi. No one is known as his successor. Reverend [Shenlxiu transmitted the
teachings to Puji. Reverend [Pulji had ten thousand disciples, sixty-three of
whom ascended to his hall. One of them attained the "wisdom of self-existence."
His name was Hongzheng. The "Dragons and Elephants" (i.e., eminent monks)
in Reverend [Honglzheng's hall were even twice as numerous as [those in the
hall of Pujil. Some of them proselytized in the Songshan and Luoyang areas,
while others went to the Jing and Wu areas.
The version of the Chan lineage recounted above runs as follows:
1) Sengcan, (2) Daoxin, (3) Hongren, (4) Shenxiu, (5) Puji, and (6)
Therefore, in talking about the "seventh generation after our Chan
Master [Sengcan] these four monks including Zhan-
ran identified themselves as a new generation following the sixth which
was, according to Dugu Ji, led by Hongzheng. This assumption is
supported by the following points.
First, it warrants particular note that Dugu Ii's inscription, by refer-
ring to Hongzheng as Puji's only disciple who has attained the "wisdom
of self-existence (jizaihui singles him out as the most accom-
plished disciple of (and therefore presumably the only qualified succes-
sor to) Puji. This suggested that of all the disciples of Puji Hongzheng
stood out as the most respectable one in the eyes of Zhanran and the
other three monks, who requested Dugu Ii to compose this inscription.
Second, Dugu Ji's inscription, commissioned by the Shangusi com-
munity as represented by those four monks, ends this Chan lineage with
Hongzheng. This suggests Hongzheng's close ties to the four principal
66. QTW3904: 3973b 10-16.
sponsors of this inscription. The likelihood is high that these four monks
respected Hongzheng as their master.
Third, Dugu Ji ends this passage with the remark that some of
Hongzheng's disciples travelled in the Songshan-Luoyang area, Jingzhou
and Wujun. This corresponds to the fact that Huirong, a monk based on
Songshan, arrived at the Shangusi from Kuangling, a part of Wu, where
he. had stayed probably for some religious activities and that Kaiwu of
the Shenyesi joined Zhanran at Wangongshan from Lujiang, which was
not too far from Jingzhou. The simultaneous arrival at the Shangusi of
three Chan masters might not have been coincidental.
Rather, it must
have been brought about by a pre-planned agenda. A kind of dharma-
brotherhood must have existed among them .
. Finally, although no extant epitaph for Hongzheng survives, two epi-
taphs still exist for two of his disciples, Qiwei (720-81) and
Changchao lltJm (705-63).68 Judging by their dates, these two disciples
of Hongzheng must have been contemporaries of the four monks
dwelling at the Shangusi. At least in terms of time, then, a disciple-
master relationship would have been possible between them and Hong-
Now we have to consider the relationship between the two Zhamans
mentioned by Dugu Ji and Fang Guan. Reading Fang Guan and Dugu
Ji's inscriptions together, I believe that the two Zhamans were one and
the same monk. Fang Guan presented his Zhanran as a care-taker of
Sengcan's pagoda, while Dugu Ji's Zhaman had recited sLltras beside
Sengcan's pagoda for years, which means that this Zhaman was also
responsible for maintaining the pagoda. Furthermore, Fang Guan's
Zhaman served as the Shangusi duweina. The status of this Zhaman was
also compatible with that of Dugu Ji's Zhanran, who initiated in the
770s a new bid for Sengcan's prominence.
Obviously, a monk who
had both the will and ability to steer such an important petition could
not have been an insignificant person. For these two reasons, the two
Zhanrans known to and befriended by Fang Guan and Dugu Ji must be
67. As is made clear by a passage discussed above, the three monks joined Zhanran
at the Shangusi in the same year (i.e., 772).
68. The two epitaphs are preserved in QTW501 5: 5105-06, 3164: 3210-11; cf.
MCRAE 1986: 68, 296.
69. The role played by Zhaman in the campaign is also corroborated by the edict
approving the petition. As we have seen before, the edict refers to the petition as
submitted by "Monk Zhaman and others" (Seng Zhanran deng
JIABS 22.1 24
taken as the same monk affiliated with the Shangusi at Wangongshan in
Combining all the relevant information provided by Fang Guan and
Dugu Ji's inscriptions, we can make the following conclusions about the
identity of this monk called Zhanran. Firstly, sometime after 746 he
entered Wangongshan in Shuzhou where he affiliated himself with the
Shangusi, of which he had been made duweina no later than 762.
Secondly, although we have no idea whether he was involved in the
building of the Wangongshan pagoda for Sengcan, it is certain that he
became a care-taker of the pagoda after its completion sometime before
762. Thirdly, he had dwelt at the Shangusi temple at least from 762 to
772, when he began to direct a new campaign to augment the prestige of
Sengcan, which resulted in imperial conferment of a title on Sengcan
and a name on his Wangongshan pagoda. Fourthly, given his leading
role in this Chan campaign and that he had been one of the three leaders
of the Shangusi as early as 762, he must have assumed the supreme
leadership of the temple by 772. Finally, this Zhanran, at least by 772,
had come to identify himself as a second generation disciple of Puji,
who was recognized as the seventh patriarch by most of the Northern
Chan followers. In a word, we can say that this Zhanran was a Chan
master who, long affiliated with the Shangusi, distinguished himself as a
prestigious Northern Chan leader, mainly through his efforts to glorify
the obscure third Chan patriarch Sengcan.
Then, Can this Zhanran be identified with Tiantai Zhanran? On the
side of Tiantai scholars, Tajima is the only one, as far as I know, who
has suggested that the monk Zhanran participating in the 772 campaign
for Sengcan's prestige was different from Tiantai Zhanran.
tely, his reason for this differentiation is weak and has been easily coun-
70. HIBr and PENKOWER, who are respectively the Japanese and western scholar
who provides a most exhaustive study of Tiantai Zhan, both identify Shangusi
Zhanran as Tiantai Zhanran (HIEI 1975:73-74; PENKOWER 1993: 100-02). Both
HIEI and PENKOWER believe that Tiantai Zhanran participated in the erection of a
pagoda at Wangonshan 'for Sengcan in 770. Three things are problematic about
this. First and foremost is, of course, to equate Shangusi Zhanran with Tiantai
Zhanran. Second, the event in question here is not the erection of a pagoda for
Sengcan, which had been completed many years before by Li Chang, but the
submission of a petition to the court asking for the official recognition of Sengcan
as a Chan patriarch. Finally, the event in question took place in 772, rather than in
770 when Dugu Ii had just assumed his office in the Shuzhou prefecture.
Among Chan scholars, Du identifies Shangusi Zhanran as Tian-
tai Zhanran without any hesitation.72 While Yanagida seems less certain
about the identity of this Shangusi Zhanran, Suzuki understands
Shangusi Zhanran as distinct from Tiantai Zhanran although he does not
give his reason for making this distinction.?3
71. Sometime around 770, Tiantai Zhaman is known to have travelled to Lanling
liiW!: in modern-day Shandong Province. He was also believed to have made a
pilgrimage to Mount Wutai (on the northeastern border of present-day Shanxi
Province) in 774. On the basis of this itinerary, Tajima argued that a trip by
Tiantai Zhaman to Wangongshan in modern-day Taihu j,ej;'J)j District of Anhui
Province would have made the route too circuitous (Lanling in Shandong ->
Taihu in Anhui -> Wutaishan in Shanxi) to sound credible (TAJIMA 1937). This
reasoning is insufficient. As PENKOWER rightly points out, "since the precise
date of Zhaman's visit to Shandong is not known, this alone is insufficient to
disavow Zhanran's patronage of the pagoda" (PENKOWER 1993: 102). Further-
more, I argued in my 1998 Asia Major article and my forthcoming book that
reports of Zhaman's 774 trip to Wutaishan probably have no basis in fact. In my
opinion, whereas TAJIMA is right in distinguishing Shangusi Zhanran from
TiantaiZhaman, his argument is seriously marred by the failure to trace the 772
campaign back to the earlier movement for the same purpose. This failure has
prevented him from recognizing that at least 10 years earlier (762) the same
Zhaman had already been made the duweina of the Shangusi, apparently a Chan
72. DU 1993: 197,622.
73. In the main text of his 1967 masterpiece, the Shoki zenshu shisho no kenkyu
fJ];ltJHf!!*;I::.(7)tiJf% (Study in the texts of early Chan), YANAGIDA says noth-
ing about the relationship (or lack thereof) between Shangusi Zhanran and Tiantai
Zhanran (see particularly YANAGIDA 1967: 324-25). However, the index of the
same book contains two separate entries, for Tiantai Zhaman, and the duweina
Zhaman (tDina Tannen respectively, the latter being a care-taker of
Sengcan's Wangongshan pagoda. This suggests that he takes Shangusi Zhaman
and Tiantai Zhaman to be two different monks. But Yanadiga says nothing about
the identity of the monk Zhaman steering the 770s bid for Sengcan's prestige. In
the main text itself, no effort is made to connect the duweina Zhaman (a care-
taker of Sengcan's pagoda) with Shangusi Zhaman (the leader of the 770s
campaign). Neither the indexical entry for Tiantai Zhaman nor that for the
duweina Zhaman covers the Zhaman in the 770s campaign, which means that
Yanagida does not take the third Zhanran (the leader of the 770s campaign) as
either Tiantai Zhaman or Zhaman the protector of Sengcan' s pagoda.
Not only does SUZUKI provide separate indexical entries for Shangusi
Zhaman and Tiantai Zhaman, the indexical entry he provides for Shangusi
Zhaman also covers the duweina Zhaman (see the index attached to his 1985
book), suggesting that SUZUKI distinguishes Shangusi Zhaman from Tiantai
Zhaman on the one hand and on the other, links the former with the monk with
the same name whom Fang Guan in 762 referred to as a duweina.
JIABS 22.1 26
What we know about Shangusi Zhanran makes it impossible to iden-
tify him with Tiantai ZhanraIi.7
First of all, we cannot simply identify
Tiantai Zhanran with a monk who so unambiguously himself
with the Northern Chan tradition and who had served the interest of
Chan Buddhism so well by ardently and skillfully promoting the fame of
its third patriarch. Secondly, for a relatively long period one Zhanran
was more or less permanently based at the Shangusi, while the other was
constantly on the road from place to place.
We have seen that no later than 762 when Fang Guan wrote his
memorial inscription for the Shangusi pagoda Shangusi Zhanran had
been appointed as the Shangusi duweina, one of whose responsibilities
was to protect and maintain the Sengcan pagoda newly established near
the temple. One sentence in Dugu Ji's inscription
impresses us that he
had performed his duty faithfully and continuously at least until 772
when he, along with three other Chan monks, launched the campaign for
imperial recognition of Sengcan. This means that in all likelihood he
stayed at the Shangusi for at least one decade, from 762 to 772.
Tiantai Zhanran, on the other hand, was forced into a vagrant life after
755 when the An Lushan Rebellion broke out, as is confessed by himself
in the preface to his Delineations of the Mohe zhiguan (hereafter
In the past, in Tianbao 14 (755), I made some private notes [preparing for the
composition of the Delineations] in Lin' an. In the jianyi (fourth) month of [Zhide
1 (756)], I rewrote the text at the Guoqingsi. While I had not finished proof-
reading the text, my disciples had begun to copy it secretly. When war broke out
in the'coastal area, dharma-brothers scattered like stars. Some of them brought
74. Shangusi Zhanran was known as the Shangusi duweina by 762 when Tiantai
Zhanran was 52. In his 773 inscription Dugu Ii addresses Zhanran as "zhang lao
," a term used for a monk highly respected for his age and virtue. Sometimes
the term also refers to the abbot of a temple; if this is true, Zhanran had by that
time assumed the supreme leadership of this important temple. This image of
Shangusi Zhanran proves that he and Tiantai Zhanran, who was 63 in 773 and
died nine years later, were indeed near contemporaries.
75. This sentence is found in QTW390 4: 3973a13:
T '
76. Mohe zhiguan kewen mJt<ITl1:Uf4x, ZZ1.43.3-4.
77. ZZ1.43.3.254.
theii copies of the text into Tan and Heng, while others camed theirs to Wu and
Chu. In the Baoying era (762), I began to re-collate the text in Puyang.
Although I was not able to free it from omissions, the text could be used to
regulate other copies.
Zhanran was with his teacher Xuanlang (673-755)78 when the
latter was dying in 754. Sometime after Xuanlang died in 755, Zhanran
went to Lin'an (in present-day Hangzhou ttj'l'l City of Zhejiang
Province) where he completed a draft of the Delineations. Staying in
Lin'an for barely one year, he had to flee to the Guoqingsi in
Zhejiang in 756. Zhanran was back in Puyang again in 762 to
prepare a more polished version of the Delineations. Although we have
no idea as to Zhanran's whereabouts from 756 to 762,80 a sentence in his
,biography in the Song gaoseng zhuan impresses us that he stayed in the
coastal area during this period.
Furthermore, as is clear from Liang Su's preface to the Abridgement
of the Weimojing [xuan]shu by Zhanran,82 which is dated 764 at Folong,
Zhanran returned to Folong from his hometown in Piling in the summer
of 764.
He stayed at Folong until around 766 when he completed the
Inquiry into the essentials of the Zhiguan fuxing [chuanhong jue]
78. The eighth Tiantai patriarch, whose SGSZ biography is found in 875b26-876a17.
79. In present-day Pujiang 1m1I District ofZhejiang Province.
80. Understanding the phrase ' as referring to Zhanran,
HIEI, whom PENKOWER follows, believes that Zhanran was driven from Tan ..
(Changsha :Bt10'), Heng to Wu (Suzhou in Jiangsu Province) and
Chu (Huaian District in Jiangsu) (HIEI 1975: 80, PENKOWER 1993: 76-
77). I am afraid that the context does not allow such a reading. It must be noted
that this phrase follows another one which reads, it1g The phrase, A
, refers to the "dharma-brothers" (jaW 1*1g, which in the
context indicates Zhanran's disciples), some of whom went to Tan and Heng,
others moving to Wu and Chu. While it might be possible that Zhanran himself
also went to one, two, three or all of these four areas during this period, the text
itself here just cannot be read the way Hibi has done.
8!. The sentence in question is found in T2061.50.739b28:
which means "Zhanran kept moving alone around the southeastern areas with
some secret texts."
82. Weimojing lueshu T no. 1778, vol. 38; ZZ1.28.3-4. This is an
abridged version of Zhiyi's commentary on the Vimalakfrti-nirdeia-sutra, the
Weimojing xuanshu (T no. 1777, vol. 38).
83. , ' (ZZ1.28.3.387b). Jinling
was Piling (cf. XIE 1961: 704), Tiantai Zhanran's hometown.
nABS 22.1 28
(hereafter Essentials).84 Other sources suggest that Zhanran prolonged
his stay at Folong at least until 768.
Thus, it is clear that Tiantai Zhauran travelled frequently, during the
decade from 755 to 768. What is more important is that none of the
places in which he is known to have taken refuge during that period falls
in the neighborhood of Wangongshan, where Shangusi Zhanran found
relatively stable shelter from the social turmoil which was then sweeping
over most of Tang China.
Consequently, we should not confuse Shangusi Zhanran who from the
750s to the 770s committed himself to campaigning for Sengcan's pres-
tige with the Tiantai master Zhanran. They were contemporaries, but
one lived at Wangongshan in present-day Anhui Province, whereas the
other was mainly confined to the southeastern coastal area.
Further proof against the identification of Shangusi Zhanran with his
Tiantai homonymous contemporary is evidence showing that Shangusi
Zhauran lived as late as 796, when he participated in an officially con-
84. Zhiguanjuxing souyaoji Z;Z 2.4.3. Since this text was signed
at Folong, it was certainly fInished there. The problem is determining when it was
completed. Since Zhanran states in his preface that he had already begun to make
some embellishments on the text during his sojourn in his hometown (ZZ2.4.3.
110a), the text was almost fInished before he returned to Folong. Thus, its formal
completion must have occurred shortly after he returned to Folong in the summer
of 764. Furthermore, as an abridgement of the Delineations, the Essentials was,
in all likelihood, finished after the Delineations, whose final version appeared
around 765 (Yongtai **' 1), as is confmned by Pumen's (a.k.a. Pumenzi
709-92) preface, which is dated to that year (T1912.46.141b7). That the
Essentials was finished after 765 but not too long after 764 tends to put its
corripletion at some time around 766 (for a more detailed discussion of when and
where the Essentials was composed, see PENKOWER 1993: 86).
85. The FZTJ relates that in Dali 3 (768) Zhanran was at Folong teaching cessation
and contemplation to Daosui (n.d.)
378c12-13). Daosui's FZTJ biography confirms Daosui's association
with Zhanran in Folong during the Dali era (190a4-5). Daosui's SGSZ entry
specifies that during this period Zhanran entrusted to Daosui the Delineations
89!a1O-ll). Thus, it is certain that Zhanran
was preaching for Daosui (and perhaps also other disciples) the Delineations at
Folong in 768. Given its great length (40juan), I assume that it would have taken
Zhanran at least a couple of years to transmit the Delineations to Daosui.
Therefore, in all probability, Zhanran continued to stay at Folong from 766 until
at least 768 to instruct his main disciple Daosui in the doctrine of zhiguan (cf.
PENKOWER 1993: 98, 109).
vened Chan council, in which he debated at least one southern Chan
representative. Tiantai Zhanran by contrast lived only until 782.
m. The Northern Chan Master Zhanran and the 796 National Chan
In his epitaph for the Chan adept Dayi (746-818),86 who was a dis-
ciple of Mazu Daoyi (709-88),87 the Tang writer Wei Chuhou
(773-828)88 mentions that a monk called Zhanran debated Dayi
in a controversy held at the palace monastery Shenlongsi Wei
Chuhou does not date this controversy. However, his brief description of
the controversy and the historical context he provides for it, coupled
with other relevant sources, enable us to identify it with a famous and
'important Chan council at the end of the eighth century. Let us look first
at how Wei Chuhou described the historical circumstance under which
this debate involving both Dayi and Zhanran took place:
' 0 ' 0
' 0 , LWll*
0 0 90
Having overcome the "great disaster," Emperor Xiaowcn (i.e, Dezong [r.
779-805])91 began to lodge his mind in "no-action." He established the [system
86. For his many years of residence at Ehushan W in Xinzhou ffi 1'1'1 prefecture
(in present-day Jiangxi Province), Dayi was known as "Ehu Dayi
His biography in the lingde chuandeng lu (Record of the lamp-
transmission, [compiled in] the Jingde era [1004-07], T no. 2076, vol. 51) is
found in 253al-23. In an inscription the Tang bureaucrat Li Chaozheng O$lj!;lliE
(n.d.) wrote to celebrate the re-erection of a memorial stele for Bodhidharma,
Dayi was recognized as the sole successor to Mazu Daoyi (QTW998 10:
10333a-b; cf. YANAGIDA 1967: 394-95).
87. Mazu Daoyi, based in present-day Jiangxi Province, was a chief representative of
Southern Chan in the second generation after Huineng. His SGSZ and lingde
chuandenglu biographies are found in 766a-c and 245c-246c respectively.
88. Wei Chuhou, who served several years as a chief minister for Wenzong Y:* (r.
1850-61), was also considered a remarkable writer by his peers. His extant
proses are collected in juan 715 of the QTW (8: 7342-54).
89. Entitled "Xingfusi neidaochang gongfeng dade Dayi Chanshi beiming
(An inscription for the stele dedicated to Chan
Master Dayi of Xingfusi Monastery, who was Great Virtue, the court chaplain
of the Palace Chapel), this epitaph is found in QTW715 8: 7352-54.
90. QTW715 8: 7353a4-7.
91. Not unlike his predecessors Taizong m::t:* (r. 626-49) and Xuanzong, Dezong
ended up a devout patron of Buddhism although at the outset of his reign he
JIABS 22.1 30
of] "Palace Commandant-protector". (zhongwei) to control the armaments, while
appointing nien with merit and virtue to lead Buddhist and Daoist priests.
the night when the Great Master [Dayil arrived at the capital, the Honorable Huo,
who was the Palace Commandant-protector of the Right Army of Inspired
Strategy (you shenche hujun), saw him in the dream. The next day, visiting him
at the Ciensi temple, the Honorable Huo found that [Dayil was exactly
what he had seen in the dream. Thus, he submitted a memorial to the court,
recommending him to be the Great Virtue, the "court chaplain" of the paiace
The "Great Disaster" mentioned here refers to the rebellion that some
military governors waged in 781 against the central government. The
war came to an end in 786 with the death of the usurper Li Xilie **r.U
(?-786).93 After the rebellion, Dezong became increasingly suspicious of
his military governors, which resulted in his over-reliance on eunuchs,
especially in military matters. The biography of two eunuchs in the Jiu
reports that in the sixth month of Zhenyuan J:i[j[; 12 (796)
Dezong introduced a new system, which Wei Chuhou here refers to as
"Palace Commandant-protector" (zhongwei r:f:1m), to control the Palace
Armies. The new system gave an important role to eunuchs. Among the
four newly-appointed commanders of the Palace Armies, three were

' ' 0 95
sought to reduce the wealth of the great monasteries. Weinstein attributes
Dezong's enthusiasm for Buddhism to, first, "his failure to bring the military
governors to heel," and the "ascendancy, particularly in military affairs, after 784
of eunuchs like Tou Wanch'ang (pinyin, Dou Wenchang) and Huo Hsien-ming
(pinyin, Huo Xianrning), who were themselves devout Buddhists" (WEINSTEIN
1987: 95).
92. In the first years of his reign Dezong abolished the office of gongdeshi
(Commissioners of Good Works), which was in charge of administrating the
Buddhist and Daoist communities. However, he revived the office in 788 by
appointing three gongdeshi, the first two for Chang' an and the third for Luoyang.
The posts were often occupied by eunuch-generals, who sought the positions not
only out of religious piety but also for their potential lucrativeness (WEINSTEIN
1987: 95-96).
93. His biographies are found in JTS145 12: 3943-45, XTS225 20: 6437-41.
94. The two eunuchs in question are Dou Wenchang (n.d.) and Huo Xian-
ming (?-798). Their joint biography is found in JTS184 15: 4766-67,
XTS207 19: 5866-67.
95. JTS134 15: 4766.
In the sixth month of Zhenyuan 12 (796), Dezong purposefully established two
"Palace Commandant-protectors" (hujun zhongwei), and two "Palace Protectors"
(zhonghujun), in order to command Palace Annies. He appointed [Dou] Wen-
chang as the Palace Commandant-protector of the Left Army of Inspired Strategy
(zuo shenche hujun zhongwei), [Huo] Xianming as the Palace Commandant-
protector of the Right Army of Inspired Strategy (you shenche hujun), Zhang
Shangjing, who was the Commander of the Right Army of Inspired Awesome-
ness (you shenweijunshi), as the Palace Protector of the Right Aruiy of Inspired
Strategy (you shenche zhonghujun), and Jiao Xiwang, the head of the Palace
Receptionists (neiyezhe jian), as the Palace Protector of the Left Army of Inspired
Strategy (you shenche zhonghujun). This system began with [Dou] Wenchang
and these other three persons.
Thus, the "Honorable Huo (Huogong m:L}.y' to whom Wei Chuhou re-
fers in the epitaph as one of Dayi's patrons in Chang'an turns out to be
the eunuch Huo Xianming, a Buddhist devotee who was appointed in
796 to the powerful post of the "Palace Commandant-protector of the
Right Army of Inspired Strategy."96
After thus providing the historical background for Dayi's arrival in
Chang'an and his subsequent participation in the Shenlongsi Contro-
versy, Wei Chuhou relates the close relationship Dayi established with
the Crown Prince (chujun 1mf1!), who was to rule the Tang Empire
briefly (a mere eight months) as Tang Shunzong mil&[* (r. 805). The
future Shunzong was also a devout Buddhist believer.
Wei Chuhou's
inscription confirms his interest in some fundamental Buddhist doc-
trines, such as buddha-nature. According to Wei Chuhou, he once asked
a Chan master called Shicha Bffi*U (n.d.)98 about two lines in a Buddhist
text concerning the possibility of seeing one's buddha-nature and attain-
96. It is reported in Huo Xianrning's biographies in the two Tang histories that when
he became ill in 796, shortly after he was posted to the new position in the Palace
Annies, Dezong ordered all Buddhist temples in the capital to perform Buddhist
ceremonies for his recovery to health (JTS134 15: 4766, XTS207 19: 5867; cf.
WEINSTEIN 1987: 183).
97. WEINSTEIN 1987: 99. Shunzong perhaps made an exception in the imperial China
by not ascending to the throne until a quarter of century after he was made the
"Crown Prince" in Dali 14 (779) (XTS7 1: 205) or Jianzhong Jtif1 1 (780, JTS
142: 405).
98. Dayi's Jingde chuandenglu entry has this monk as Shili gfflflJ (T2076.51.
JIABS 22.1 32
ing buddhahood.
It seems that Shicha's answer did not impress the
Crown Prince.
Later, he went to Dayi with the same question. Dayi's
answer, according to Wei Chuhou, convinced him of the superiority of
Dayi's Buddhist understanding. Presenting a stark contrast to Shicha,
who assumed a negative view on the possibility of attaining buddha-
hood, Dayi advocated a positive and active pursuit of buddhahood. He
assured the future Shunzong, "Buddha-nature has nothing to do with
seeing or not seeing. If one wants to see the moon in the water, why
does he not catch it?"IOI The future Shunzong reportedly approved this
understanding. Furthermore, when he asked what buddha-nature was,
Dayi gave him an answer, as is characteristic of Chan, throwing the
question back to the questioner, "it is not different from what Your
Majesty asked."J02 Wei Chuhou reports that this had caused their minds
to accord silently on the "mysterious key," with one word tying the two
together. 1 03
Only after these two episodes related to his association with Huo
Xianming and the Crown Prince was Dayi presented as a participant in
the controversy. Thus, Dayi did not arrive at the capital until Dezong
introduced in 796 the new military system following the crackdown of
the 780s rebellion, and he did not take part in the controversy until he
established connections to two of his most powerful patrons, the eunuch
Huo Xianming and the Crown Prince. Furthermore, Huo Xianming here
was referred to by the official title that he gained in the sixth month of
796. All this proves that the controversy occurred sometime after the
sixth month of 796. Now, let us look at how Dayi came to debate a
Dharma-master called Zhaman:
' , , " ,

1[Jl? " ' " ' A1If-f:T 0 " lX:13JW$ 0104
99. These two lines are "*:l:1h1lffxv: ' (QTW715 8: 7353a8-9; All the
sentient beings on the earth I [pursue] the way of seeing the nature and attaining
buddhahood)." ,
100. Shicha's answer is as follows, A ' m .-%/fI'iJJfX: (QTW7158:
7353a9; Buddhahood is like the moon in water. It is visible but unattainable)."
101. ''w'lFl:j:l A ' 1iiJ/fJl!&. (QTW715 8: 7353a9-1O)."
102. (QTW715 8: 7353al0-11)."
103. -'llP%D (QTW715 8: 7353al1."
104. QTW715 8: 7353all-14.
Later, [Dayi] participated in a dharma-assembly at the palace monastery
Shenlongsi. Among the monks was a dharma-master called Zhanran, who,
ascending to the platform, said, "The way to buddhahood is far and arduous. One
has to undergo innumerable kalpas [before attaining buddhahood]. People from
the southern border have cheated and harmed the practitioners of later
generations:" The Great Master (Dayi) said, "They themselves lost track of their
own [buddha-]nature. How could the blind blame the bright sun?" The [future]
Emperor Shunzong turned around and looked at other princes present, saying,
"That monk does not understand the ultimate truth. Have [him and] his
companions removed." Several ten days later, [Zhanran] died.
Four things are either explicitly stated or implicitly implied in Wei
Chuhou's description of this controversy. First of all, it was at the palace
(n) monastery Shenlongsi that the controversy was held.
,Second of all, the future Shunzong and other princes presented them-
selves at this controversy. Given that he made, either of his own accord
or by request, judgment on Zhanran's Buddhist understanding and that
he ordered Zhanran and his disciples ousted from the council, the future
emperor actually acted as an arbiter of this Shenlongsi controversy.
Thirdly, the Crown Prince's presence and his active role in the contro-
versy attest to its unusual importance. Finally, in view of Dayi's status
as a chief disciple of Mazu Daoyi and the accusation Zhanran raised
against the Southern Chan school as a whole, we assume that this
Shenlongsi controversy was triggered by the opposition between the
Northern and Southern Chan traditions. lOS While the first three points
are rather clear, we have to elaborate on the fourth which will prove im-
portant in determining this Zhanran's religious affiliation.
105. As for the theme of this debate, Zongmi unambiguously tells us that the council
was dominated by the issue of Chan lineage and the fundamentals of Chan
doctrines (presumably the sudden-gradual debate). In his massive sectarian
historico-biographical work, the FZTJ, the Song Tiantai monastic historiogra-
pher (n.d.) asserts that the controversy was over Chan lineage (see
below). It seems that some scholars, on the other hand, understand the central
theme debated by Zhanran and Dayi at the Shenlongsi to have been buddha-
nature. This understanding has led Du to believe that the monk Zhanran involved
in this controversy was Tiantai Zhanran, whose last work Jin'gangbei 3iJlJU**
(T. no. 1932, the Diamond Scalpel) was devoted to the issue of Buddha-nature
(Du 1993: 248). This conclusion cannot be drawn from Wei Chuhou's inscrip-
tion, which presents the issue of buddha-nature as the topic for the conversations
the future Shunzong had first with Shicha and then with Dayi. It is Wei
Chuhou's understanding that, beyond determining Dayi's participation, the
conversations on buddha-nature between Shunzong, Dayi and Shicha preceded
and had nothing to do with the controversy.
JIABS 22.1 34
As presented by Wei Chuhou's inscription, Zhaman referred to his
opponents by a: general designation, nanbi zhi ren l.iooBzA: The term
nanbi l.iwB, which literally means "regions close to thy southern
border," seemed to have pointed to Huineng and Mazu, as one was born
and raised in present-day Guangdong iJ[* Province and the other was
active in the Jiangxi 1Ig area. However, it seems that the term nanbi
zhi ren as used by Zhaman here has more far-reaching implication. It
might be an over-simplification to understand the Southern and
Northern Chan traditions in exclusive regional terms. However, it is true
that the headquarters of the Northern Chan was in the North (mainly
concentrated around the two capitals, Chang' an and Luoyang), while
most of the Southern Chan followers, like Huineng (the monk whom
they claimed as patriarch), came from Southern China. If this
understanding is not too far from the truth, the appellation nanbi zhi ren,
as used by Zhaman in the context, must have referred to the Southern
Chan tradition as a whole, which challenged the orthodox religious
authority in the north.
Conventionally, the alleged opposition between Southern and Northern
Chan has been characterized and understood in terms of the contradis-
tinction between "sudden" (Jjlj) and "gradual" (lIT) teachings. Research
done by some Chan scholars has devastated this conventional under-
It is doubtful that any Chan faction was ever known to pro-
mulgate, at least publicly, the gradual teachings. On the contrary, almost
all Chan sects made every effort to identify themselves with the sudden
teachings, in one form or another. To accuse a rival sect of advocating
"gradual teachings" must be viewed, to a great degree, as a polemic
instrument. In view of this, Wei Chuhou's depiction of Zhanran, imply-
ing as it idoes that Zhaman openly attacked Dayi's tradition on the
grounds that it advocated "sudden" teachings, cannot be accepted
uncritically. However, since Zhaman referred to Dayi and his groups
with the derogatory appellation of "nanbi zhi ren," we can at least
believe that Zhaman identified himself with a Chan tradition which was
based, very likely, in the north, in opposition to'the Mazu-Dayi circle
and other newly emerging Chan groups, which, by and large, rose from
the south and were mainly based there.
106. For Japanese scholars, see particularly VI 1935-43, YANAGIDA 1967, 1974,
SEKIGUCHI 1964, 1967, 1969 and IBUKI 1991; for western scholars, see
McRAE 1986, FAURE 1991, 1997 and FOULK 1987.
In sum, we can say that this meditation master Zhanran participating
in this Chan debate held in the palace chapel was a steadfast Northern
Chan defender hostile to the newly emerging Chan movement which was
later to be known as Southern Chan. Then, our question is, "Is such an
apparently important controversy recorded in any other source?"
At this juncture, Zongmi *W (780-841), the fifth Huayan patriarch
and the self-described successor to the heroic Southern Chan defender
Shenhui, comes to our aid. Zongmi recorded, at least three times, a
famous Chan Controversy in the year 796:

3'.lE 0 ' 0 X.fiEfJiIlU
' Jl'1'TtR'i!t 0 108
In Zhenyuan 12 (796), Emperor Dezong decreed that the Crown Prince convene
Chan masters to detennine the ultimate principles of the Chan school, to work out
the direct and collateral lineages of dharma-transmission. After [the council], such
a decree was issued to the effect that the Great Master Heze (Shenhui) be
accepted as the seventh patriarch. Within the Shenlongsi, the palace temple, we
can still see the stele and the inscription thereof. In addition, the emperor
composed in person the eulogies for the seven patriarchs, which are still
circulating in the world.
From Zongmi's description, it is clear, first of all, that this controversy
was convened by Dezong's Crown Prince (i.e., the future Shunzong),
who also oversaw the proceedings in person. Secondly, the debate was
held in 796. Thirdly, it took place at the palace monastery, the Shen-
longsi. Fourthly, the controversy must have been triggered and domi-
nated by the sectarian opposition between Northern and Southern Chan,
based, we are told, on their conflicting opinions on the ultimate
principles for the Chan school (chanmen zongzi :t1i!F5* ') and the Chan
lineage (chuanfa pangzheng fW$5iIE). Accordingly, most, if not all, of
the monks participating in this controversy were Chan monks. A com-
parison of Zongmi's description of this 796 Chan Council and the one
Wei Chuhou provides for the controversy involving Zhanran and Dayi
1 07. The following quotation is from Zongmi' s Zhonghua chuan xindi chanmen shizi
chengxi tu (Chart of the master-disciple transmis-
sion of the meditation-gate of mind-ground transmitted in China), similar
accounts can also be found in his Yuanjuejing dashu chao (Se-
lections from the Great Commentary on the Yuanjue jing; ZZ1.14.3.277a) and
Yuanjuejing lueshu chao (Selections from the Small Commen-
tary on the Yuanjuejing; ZZ1.1S.2.13la).
108. ZZ.2.1S.S.432b.
JIABS 22.1 36
easily establishes the identity. of these two events. Therefore, we can
conclude that the Chan controversy in which Zhanran participated and in
which he engaged in a bitter debate with the Southern Chan partisan
Dayi took place in 796 under the supervision of the future emperor
Given the historical importance of the 796 controversy, let us brkfly
comment on its probable result, which can be deduced from Wei
Chuhou's inscription. Zongmi declared that after this Chan controversy
the Tang government formally accepted Shenhui as the true successor to
the Chan tradition, with his line established as the sole orthodox Chan
lineage. Chan scholars doubt this claim.
Wei Chuhou's inscription
justifies this skepticism. It affirms Dayi's unusually close connection to
the future Shunzong, who, as the convener and overseer of this contro-
versy, apparently had the final say. Furthermore, evidence shows that
the Chan tradition Dayi represented was quite critical of the tradition
109. This controversy was also recorded in Zhipan's FZTJ, which infonns us that as
requested by an imperial edict issued in the first month of Zhengyuan 12, the
Crown Prince convened Chan masters in the "inner palace" (neidian pg i%!:) to de-
cide the direct and collateral lines of dhanna transmission within the Chan tradi-
tion , , T2035.
49.380a9-10). In addition to presenting its focus as Chan lineage, Zhipan's
account of this controversy is remarkable in locating it in the "inner palace,"
rather than at the palace monastery Shenlongsi, as Wei Chuhou and Zongmi did.
Here, Zhipan might have confused this Shenlongsi controversy with a later
Buddhist council which is also recorded by Wei Chuhou in his epitaph for Dayi
and was held at the Lindedian (the Palace of Linde) on one of the an-
niversaries of Dezong's birth (QTW715 8: 7353a14-bll; YANAGIDA discusses
some material related to this council, about two lines in an epitaph allegedly
written by Liang Wudi [r. 502-49] for Bodhidhanna; YANAGIDA 1967:
395-96). Furthennore, Zhipan seems to have dated the controversy to the first
month of 796, which contradicts Wei Chuhou's epitaph, according to which the
controversy did not happen until sometime after the sixth month of 796.
However, it is possible that the date Zhipan gives here is for the imperial edict
ordering the convening of such a Chan council. Given its scale and the large
number of its participants, it must have taken several months to convene the
Shenlongsi counciL If this understanding is correct, the FZTJ account of the 796
council does not present serious countercevidence to the relevant accounts made
by Zongrni and Wei Chuhou with regard to the date of the Chan council.
110. For a discussion of this account by Zongmi, see Hu 1982: 70-71 , YANAGIDA
1967: 345-46. YANAGIDA is skeptical of the claim that Shenhui, almost four
decades after his death, was recognized by the Tang government as the seventh
Chan patriarch.
descending from Shenhui.1I1 Finally, it seemed that no particularly .
capable and influential monk was known at the time to have identified
himself with Shenhui' s tradition.
Given these facts, it is very likely
that Dayi's Chan tradition,1l3 rather than Shenhui's, was eventually
recognized as the true Chan successor, as the result of this 796 Chan
controversy .
. Now let us summarize what can be deduced from Wei Chuhou's
inscription and other relevant sources about this Chan monk Zhanran
and how this will inform our understanding of the identities of Shangusi
Zhanran andlor Tiantai Zhanran. First of all, since the 796 controversy
was a Chan council on Chan doctrinal and sectarian issues, Zhanran, as a
prominent participant in the debate,114 was highly likely a Chan master.
, Second of all, since he was presented to have openly attacked the
"Sudden Teachings" advocated by Southern Chan, he must have been a
Northern Chan adept. Thirdly, from the fact that he was then surrounded
by a following, which was ousted from the Chan council with the
111. Wei Chuhou criticized Shenhui' s disciples (direct or second generation) in his
epitaph for Dayi,
' , 0 , '
RX;:fft.JJ11Jf* ' (QTW715 8: 7352b8-9).
[The Chan master who promulgated Huineng' steachings] in Luo-
yang was Shenhui, who attained the seal of dhiira'(ll (zongchi f.\r&fi!f,
lit., completely upholding [something in memory]). Absolutely, he
radiated as brightly as a lustrous pearl, unmatched [by his contem-
poraries]. His disciples were lost to [his] true [spirit]. They were as
different from their teacher in substance as the ju is from the zhi.
They have deteriorated to the degree that they use the Platform Satra
as the [symbol of] dharma-transmission. The superiority [of the
teacher] and the inferiority of [the disciples] have thus become quite
Here, Wei Chuhou criticizes Shenhui's disciples by referring to a saying in the
Zhouli Jil\'J1J (Rites of the Zhou), according to which theju;ffiJl orange, transplant-
ed to the north, becomes zhi ;tR, an inferior variety oftheju (LUO 4: 1321). This
bitter criticism levelled against Shenhui's disciples must reflect the opinion of
Dayi's disciples, the sponsors of this funeral stele for which Wei Chuhou wrote
the epitaph.
112. Cf. Dr 1939-43 (I): 195-268, YAMPOLSKY 1967: 37-38.
113. The main body of this southern Chan lineage runs as follows: Huineng --7
Nanyue Huairan (677-744) --7 Mazu Daoyi --7 Ehu Dayi.
114. That Zhanran was a remarkable personage in the council is corroborated by the
fact that his speech attracted the Crown Prince's attention.
JIABS 22.1 38
intervention of the future Shunzong, we know that Zhanran was a, if not
the, leader of the Northern Chan monks attending the controversy.
Finally, it should be noted that Zhanran died soon after the 796
controversy. In a word, the monk called Zhanran appearing in Wei
Chuhou's inscription was a prestigious leader of the Northern Chan
tradition, who died shortly after his unsuccessful efforts at defending
Northern Chan in an important Chan council convened by the Tang
government in 796 at the palace monastery Shenlongsi. Obviously, this
Northern Chan master should not be confused with the Tiantai patriarch
bearing the same dharma-name who died fourteen years earlier.
Now if this Zhanran was not Tiantai Zhanran, how did he relate to
Shangusi Zhanran? In all likelihood, this Zhanran was Shangusi Zhan-
ran, who by the 770s had distinguished himself as a prominent Northern
Chan master by successfully steering a campaign for imperial recogni-
tion of Sengcan. Since by the 770s he had assumed the supreme leader-
ship of the Shangusi, which, given its alleged connections to the third
Chan patriarch, must have been an important Chan center at the time, it
would have been natural that Shangusi Zhanran was chosen as a repre-
sentative of the Northern Chan school for the 796 Shenlongsi Chan
council. At this point, then, we have two Zhanrans: one, the prominent
Tiantai monk familiar to students of Chinese Buddhism;' and the other, a
lesser-known but nonetheless important monk in the Northern Chan
Now, it is time to make the acquaintance of a third monk, also called
Zhanran, who lived in the Tang eastern capital Luoyang at least from
728 to 767. As far as I know, this Zhanran has rarely been mentioned in
any Buddhist scholarship.116 Can this Zhanran be identified with either
of the two Zhanrans who have concerned us so far?
115. The identification of the Zhaman in the Shenlongsi debate with Tiantai Zhaman
was advanced by PULLEYBLANK (1960: 326-27), Du Jiwen i'i.lI!x, while
apparently unaware of Pulleyblank's work, nonetheless arrived at the same
identification (Du 1993: 248). PENKOWER repeated this identification without
questioning its veracity in one of her recent articles (1997: 1300-1299), although
she says in her dissertation that it "demands further corroboration" to accept the
saying that "Zhaman, in failing health, should have broken his resolve and gone
to the capital to debate a monk who was thirty-seven years old when Zhaman
died (1993: 110)."
116. I myself was referred to this Zhaman, who is mentioned in a QTS poem, by
Linda Penkower; she then informed me that it was Antonino Forte who had
brought her attention to the poem.

An epitaph for Madame Li of the Honorable Lu, the Magistrate of the Chanhe District
Reproduced from Lr 1996: 61
JIABS 22.1 40
IV. The Fuxiansi Zhanran: An Accomplished Monk-calligrapher
We now have access to two epitaphs written by a monk called Zhanran
who identifies himself as a Sramal}-a affiliated with the Da Fuxiansi
temple in Luoyang. The funeral stelre bearing these two epi-
taphs were unearthed in Yanshi District in Luoyang.
The first epitaph, entitled "Changhe Zai Lugong Li Furen muzhiwen
:Rrrrr*1i:0*XA;:G;X (An epitaph for Madame Li of the Honor-
able Lu, the Magistrate of the Changhe District)," is dedicated to the de-
ceased wife of Magistrate Lu (Lu Xianling ) of the Changhe
District in Dezhou (in modern-day Shandong Province).ll7
The epitaph does not bear a specific date, although we know that it was
written shortly before the third day of the first month (xianyue !v'}'j )118
of Tianbao 1 (742), when Madame Lu, who died on the 5th day of the
12th month of Kaiyuan 29 (741), was buried. At the end of this epitaph,
the author identifies himself as "Da Fuxiansi Shamen Zhanran zhuan
jian shu (Srama"(la Zhanran of the Great Fu-
xiansi Monastery 'drafted (zhuan m)' [this epitaph, for which he also]
'executed the calligraphy (shu "'119
As suggested by its title, "Tang gu Suiyang Jun Gushu xiancheng
Zheng Fujun120 muzhi rning bing xu
{R;:ill!:pf; (An epitaph, with an introduction, for the Honorable Zheng, the
Vice Magistrate of Gushu District, Suiyang Prefecture of the Tang Dy-
nastyI21)," the second epitaph is dedicated to a local official named
117. CHEN Chang' an 1991a: 1, LI 1996: 61, ZHOU 1992: 1528.
118. The identification of the xianyue as the fIrst month in the pre-modern Chinese
calendar system is made by the compiler of the epigraphic collection containing
this inscription by Zhanran (LI 1996: 241). No reason is given for this identifi-
119. In pre-modern China, to erect a memorial stele for a deceased person was a
complicated procedure including at least four stages. First, a relative, disciple, or
close friend of the deceased found someone, usually a respected sty list, to draft
(zhuan joj) an inscription. After the inscription was completed, the sponsor of
the stele searched for a famous calligrapher to make the copy of the inscription
(shu ., or shudan .ft) to be carved into the stele. If the writer happened to be
a good calligrapher, he also, if he agreed, took up this task. Finally, a profes-
sional artisan was hired to engrave (ke the inscription on the stele, using the
copy prepared by the calligrapher.
120. "Fujun" is a common term of respect for the male subject of an epitaph.
121. Both Suiyang Prefecture and Gushu District were in present-day Shangqiu f.l'jli
City of He' nan Province.
~ ~ m ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ M ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
An epitaph, with an introduction,
for the Honorable Zheng, the Vice Magistrate of Gushu
District, Suiyang Prefecture of the Tang Dynasty
Reproduced from: CHEN Chang' an 1991: 216
JIABS 22.1 42
Zheng.122 However, the epitaph turns out to be for both Zheng Jiong
lR. (677-721) and his wife who belonged to the Cui family in Bo-
ling 123 The epitaph was written shortly before the 29th ,day of the
11th month of Tianbao 13 (754), when Madame Zheng was entombed.
Zheng Jiong's second son, whose given name was Mian drafted the text
of the epitaph (cizi Mian shu * r1"i9m!) , while Zhanran, who identified
himself as a monk of the Great Fuxiansi Monastery in Luoyang, execut-
ed the calligraphy for it. i
Given that Zhanran was entrusted to write and prepare a formal copy\
of the inscription, he must have been respected not merely for his liter-
ary abilities but also for his skill in calligraphy. The calligraphy of the
two epitaphs verifies that Zhanran was indeed a fine calligrapher.
In 1988, a funeral stele was discovered in Longmen Town
Luoyang.124 The stele bears an epitaph, entitled "Tang gu Xingyang
Junfuren Zhengshi muzhiming (Epitaph
for the late Junfuren Zheng of Xingyang Prefecture of the Tang)."125 Lu
Xun (n.d.)I26 composed the epitaph, for which a monk called Zhan-
122. CHEN Chang'an 1991a: 217, Lr 1996: 76. I am grateful to Antonino Forte for
referring me to tbis epitaph.
123. Boling was in present-day Lixian "AW* of Hebei Province. The Cui of Boling
was one of the four most prestigious families in the imperial China (cf. OTAGI
1987). '
124. CHEN Chang'an 1991a: 193, LUOYANG WENWU GONGZUODUI 1991: 522, ZHU
125. Junfuren, like xianfuren W*5i::A, was a rank conferred on wives of officials. The
Zheng family in Xingyang was among the four most prestigious families in the
Tang {the other three being the Lu family in Fanyang, the Cui family in Boling
and the Li family in Zhaojun. cf. LIU 1994, xu Boyong 1994; for the
intermarriage between these four families, see OTAGI 1987).
126. According to bis one-line XTS entry (XTS200 18: 5705), Lu Xun died as the
Vice Minister of the Ministry of Personnel (Libu yuanwailang
Fourteen of his poems are preserved in the QTS (QTS99 4: 1069-72). His
poems reveal that he had personal connections with Xuanzong and bis Crown
Prince Li Heng *-7, the future Suzong (cf. WU 1993: 409). In bis epitaph for
Lu Congyuan's wife, Lu Xun identified himself as Congyuan's "third younger
cousin" (san congdi Tbis is corroborated by the XTS zaixiang shixi
section, in wbich the two Lus are listed as the same generation of the Lu clan of
Fanyang (XTS73 9: 2928-30). All tbis contradicts Lu Xun's XTS biography,
according to which he was Lu Congyuan's third uncle (san congfu -=-:(':5(:).
Since the epitaph was written by Lu Xun bimself, we have reason to believe that
he was Congyuan's third younger cousin, rather than third uncle.

Epitaph for the late J unfuren Zheng of Xingyang Prefecture of the Tang
Reproduced from: LUOYANG WENWU GONGZUODUI 1991: 522
JIABS 22.1 44
ran, who identified himself as a Hanyang native, executed the calligra-
phy.127 Giving Madame Zheng's given name as Deyao the epitaph
refers to her husband as "Gu'an Wengong 1ID*:Z0 Wen of
Gu'an)," whom Zhu identifies as Lu Congyuan (667?-737).128
As for the date of the epitaph, since it indicates that Madame Zheng was
entombed on the renyin :EJIr (nineteenth) day of the 11th month of;
Kaiyuan 28 (740), it must have been written shortly before that time.
This Zhanran merely identified the name of his native place, without
specifying his temple affiliation. However, from the fact that he was
entrusted to write an epitaph for a person who was buried in Luoyang,
we conjecture that he was then staying in the city. Needless to say, he
was also an established calligrapher. For these two reasons, I assume that
this Zhanran of Hanyang was Fuxiansi Zhanran who wrote epitaphs for
Madame Lu first and then for Madame Zheng. Since he does not iden-
tify himself as a Fuxiansi monk in his 740 inscription but does in the
742 one, we can speculate that his affiliation with the temple began at
some point in the interval.
In addition, it is said that a memorial stele, now nonextant, was
erected at MountXian UlJUlJ near Xiangyang (in present-day Hubei
Province) in Kaiyuan 8 (720) in order to celebrate the "virtuous political
career" (dezheng of Pei Guan (n.d.).13o The memorial stele
127. Hanyang sham en Zhanran which literally means "SramaIJa
Zhanran of Hanyang (in present-day Hubei Province)." Cf. LUOYANG WENWU
GONGZUODUI 1991: 522, CHEN Chang'an 1991: 193, ZHU 1991.
128. Lu Congyuan was a high-ranking official under the reign of Xuanzong, his
official biographies in JTSlOO 9: 3123-25 and XTS129 14: 4478-79. Gu'an was
in present-day Hebei Province, not too far from Zhuoye (Fanyang
the home-basis of the Lu family in Fanyang. According to the XTS zaixiang
shixi, one member of the Fanyang Lu family, Lu Xuan of the Hou Wei
period (384-534), was made Marquis Xuan of Gu'an (Gu'an Xuanhou
(XTS73 9: 2884). Lu Congyuan's two Tang biographies tell us that he de-
scended from Lu Chang PllJ< (JTS100 9: 3123, XTS129 14: 4478) and that his
posthumous honOlific title was Wen (JTSlOO 9: 3125, XTS129 14: 4479). All
this proves that Gu' an Wengong refers to Lu Congyuan (cf. ZHU 1991: 57).
129. This speculation is advanced on the basis that the Fuxiansi was such a
prestigious monastery that once Zhanran was affiliated with it he would not have
failed to indicate this affiliation on a formal occasion like writing an inscription
for a member of one of the most respected clans in the imperial China.
130. This memorial stele is recorded in an epigraphic collection compiled by an
anonymous Song author, the Baoke leibian (A categorically arranged
bore an inscription which was composed by Jia Sheng Jf* (n.d.) and
for which a monk called Zhaman executed the calligraphy. Some source
identifies this Zhaman as Li Sizhen which is obviously implau-
sible.l3I Rather, I propose that this monk Zhaman is exactly the monk
who, calling himself a native of Hanyang, wrote the epitaph for Madame
collection of precious inscriptions) (SKQS 682: 700b). The Baoke leibian
merely observes that the stele was found in Xiang which must have been
Xiangyang. It is another source that specifies the location of the stele as Mount
Xian, which is near to the City of Xiangyang (see next note).
Jia Sheng was a close friend of the famed Tang poet Meng Haoran
(689-740), who dedicated at least two poems to him (QTS160 5: 1632,1642). It
is noteworthy that Meng Haoran was a native of Xiangyang, where the memorial
stele for Pei Guan was erected.
Coming from the Pei family in Xima 11Gft.!fr, which was included in the XTS
zaixiang shixi (XTS71 7: 2192), Pei Guan once served the Surveillance Com-
missioner (anchashi of Jingzhou WrJ 1'1'1 (in present-day Hubei Province)
(JTS54 7: 2192). According to the Chengdu zhi (Record of Chengdu),
in Kaiyuan 12 (724) Pei Guan, who was then an Academician (xueshi at
the Hongwen guan sbxnf (Institute for the Advancement of Literature), was
named Military Commissioner (jiedushi J3t 1) of the Jiannan m area and
an Aide (zhangshi in the Great Area Command (da dudufu Jf-f)
(Xu Minxia 1992: 537). His job in Sichuan lasted for only one year, as he was
appointed the Prefect of Cangzhou tt1'i'1 in the following year (XTS128 14:
4464). These fragmentary sources suggest that Pei Guan was a high-ranking
official under the reign of Xuanzong and that he was gifted with literary and
military talents. It was shortly after his term in Jingzhou expired that the
memorial stele was erected for him. Its location at Xianshan makes me suspect
that the erection of the stele was inspired by a famous stele on the same mountain
which was erected in the memory of the capable Jin official Yan Hu
(biography in JS34 4: 1013-25), who frequented the mountain during his ten-
year service at Xiangyang as its prefect. It was said that Yang Hu was so
beloved by his Xiangyang subordinates and the locals that they set up the
memorial stele after his death (JS34 4: 1020, 1022). This stele, referred to as
Yangbei (the stele for Yang [Hu]) or liulei bei (the stele bringing
out one's tears), had become an often quoted literary symbol among medieval
Chinese literati (LUO 3: 819).
131. The source in question is Hubei jinshi zhi (Record of epigraphic
inscriptions in Hubei) by Zhang Zhongxin (fl. 1877), which also reports
the existence of the memorial stele dedicated to Pei Guan. According to Zhang
Zhongxing, this record was made on the basis of two other epigraphic
collections, the Fuzhai lubei (Stela: recorded by Fuzhai) and the linshi
cunyi kao (Inquiry into epigraphy, extant and lost) (SKSLXB 16:
12015). Zhang Zhongxin, who based his reasoning on the Fuzhai lubei, located
the stele at Mount Xian. Since Mount Xian is in Xiangyang, this claim does not
contradict the location the Baoke leibian gives for the stele.
JIABS 22.1 46
Zheng Deyao in 740. This identification is bolstered by the fact that'the
Pei Ouan stele was erected iIi Xiangyang, which, like Hanyang, was also
in present-day Hubei Province. Thus, we can say that the monk-calligra-
pher Zhanran lived in Xiangyang, close to his native place Hanyang, at
least as late as 720. (While in Xiangyang, he was probably affiliated, at
least once, with a temple Huijuesi on Mount Xian.)132
The name Li Sizhen belongs both to a son of Tang Xuanzong and to a Tang
artist. Neither of them can be identified as this monk Zhanran. By the time the
monk Zhanran wrote the Pei Guan stele in 720 the artist Li Sizhen had already
beendead for almost 25 years (he died in the year of the Wansui tongtian,
7':. era [696]; ITS191 16: 5099). On the other hand, the other Li Sizhen, the
fourth son of Xuanzong, was reported to have received his new title of Diwang
;fJit.:E (Prince Di) in Kaiyuan 12 (724) (ITS 107 10: 3260), which indicates that
he had not yet left secular life to become a renunciant. It is therefore impossible
to identify him with the monk Zhanran, who was known as a monk at least four
years earlier.
132. This speculation is made by the following information. Yijing's (635-713)
Da Tang xiyu qiufa gaoseng zhuan (Biographies of the
eminent monks of the Great Tang who travelled to the Western Regions to seek
[Buddha-]dharma, T. no. 2066, vol. 51) reports that a Meditation Master Cheng
(Cheng Chanshi ilHiHili), due to his great reputation, was once summoned to the
(eastern) capital, where he was ordered to reside at the Weiguosi and Da
Zhou Dongsi (T2066.51.10b28-c7). These two temples were both
the sarrie temple Taiyuansi, which, established in 675, was renamed Weiguosi in
687 and three years later (690) achieved its another name Da Zhou Dongsi. It
was in the same year (690) that this temple was formally transformed into the
family temple for Empress Wu and got its fourth, and as far as we know the last,
name - the Da Fuxiansi (FORTE 1973). Therefore, we know that this Meditation
Master became affiliated with these two temples sometime between 687 and 690.
Since Weiguosi achieved its two names (Da Zhou Dongsi and Da Fuxiansi) in
the .same year, the likelihood is high that he continued to stay at the same temple
after it became known as Da Fuxiansi. Probably for this reason, FORTE
proposes that the monk be identified with Huicheng (n.d.), who, as an im-
portant ideologue of Empress Wu, was in 695 indicated as the sizhu of the
Fuxiansi and who presented in 696 a petition to the court asking that the text of
the Laozi huahu jing :ti.:r{l:;"/i.EI#&l: (Scripture of the conversion of barbarians by
Laozi) be destroyed (FORTE forthcoming; 1976: 92). In addition, Meditation
Master Cheng is known to have performed ordination on Zhengu who, in
his way to India, encountered Yijing in Canton in Yongchang 1 (689)
(T2066.S1.10blS-11c19). Although no unmistakable evidence suggests that this
Meditation Master Cheng was a Chan master, much less a Northern Chan leader,
iUs noticeable that he had previously lived at the Huijuesi on Mount
Xian, exactly the same mountain on which the monk-calligrapher Zhanran helped
erect a memorial stele for Pei Guan around three decades after Meditation Master
Cheng left the mountain for Luoyang. We know very little about the Huijuesi,
Sometime between 720 and 740, he left Xiangyang for Luoyang. A
piece of literary evidence shows that sometime between 720 and 726 the
monk-calligrapher Zhanran arrived in the Luoyang region, where he
first resided at the famous Xiangshansi temple in Longmen

Meng Haoran has left us a poem entitled "Xun Xiangshan Zhan Shang-
ren (Looking for the Superior Zhan at MountXiang)."134
except for the fact that it continued to prosper beyond the beginning of the ninth
century, when Zongmi met a disciple of Chengguan (738-839, SGSZ biog-
raphy in 737a4-c20) Lingfen (d. 810) there, from whom he received in-
structions in the Huayan jing (Avatamsaka sutra) and two of Cheng-
guan's copious commentaries on the sutra (this is reported in a letter Zongmi
sent from Luoyang to Chengguan, who was then staying in Chang' an; see
T1795.39.577a7-11; cf. Jan 1988: 17). r cannot resist the temptation of speculat-
ing on a probable connection between Zhanran and Meditation Master Cheng.
Although a master-disciple relationship did not likely ever occur at Mount Xian
between the two monks (still active in 767, Zhanran was probably not older than
80 in the year, making him a person younger than 10 in 690, when Meditation
Master Cheng left Mount Xian). However, it is still possible that Zhanran shared
Meditation-Master Cheng's temple-affiliation and lineage on Mount Xian, if not
exactly at the Huijuesi, which will make it better understood that sometime after
Zhanran arrived in Luoyang, he became affiliated with and finally became the
head of the Fuxiansi, which Dharma Master Cheng headed at the turn of the
eighth century (for the time of Huicheng' s abbacy at the Da Fuxiansi, see FORTE
1976: 117-18).
133. This mountain was also famous for its connection to the Tang poet Bai Juyi
(773-847), who lived there for many years and called himself
"XiangshanJushi wJl!,@ (Layman of Xiangshan)." The most thorough dis-
cussion of the Xiangshansi is found in WEN 1988: 224-29.
134. This poem is preserved in QTS 1595: 1623,
' 0 &Ri'I][s!ti ' BAJ'JPil: 0
' 0 , 0

, 0 ' 0
An excursion started from the morning led me to the renowned
which is remote, as if in the empty and blue sky.
With dense mist spreading one hundred miles wide,
r did not arrive at the mountain until the sunset.
Carrying a staff, I looked for myoId friend;
Putting aside the whip, r halted the horse for a while.
The Stone-gate is precipitous indeed,
JIABS 22.1 48
The poem provides no clue as to when it was composed, but evidence
from other sources enables us to date it rather narrowly. Xiangshan is in
present-day Longmen Town, south of Luoyang. Thus, this ,poem was
written during Meng Haoran's sojourn in the eastern capital from
Kaiyuan 12 to 14 (724-26).135
a bamboo track leading to some place deep and secluded.
As dharma-brothers, we rejoiced at meeting each other again,
subtle talks keeping us awake overnight.
Fascinated with the true and abstruse all my life,
I have investigated the extraordinary and unique truth day after day.
The old bumpkin going to the field in the morning,
while the mountain monks returriing to the temple in the evening.
Pine and spring abounding in :erial sounds,
the mossed-cliff replete with primitive charms.
Hearing the sounds of toll at the valley-entrance,
sensing the fragrance at the top of the tree.
I wish to throw myself into this mountain,
Abandoning my own body and the world as well!
This poem attests to the profound friendship between Meng Haoran and
Zhanran. As Meng Haoran calls Zhan Shangren "old friend" (guren tzA) in the
poem, we know that their friendship began long before Meng Haoran went to
visit Zhan Shangren at Xiangshan. The poem can also be read as a testimony of
Meng Haoran's strong interest in Buddhism, which might have been an impor-
tant bond bringing them together.
135. According to his biographies in the two Tang histories, Meng Haoran made a
brief trip to the capital (jingshi at the age of 40 (728) to take the jinshi ex-
amination which he then failed. Meng Haoran returned to his hometown in
Xiangyang after thif> frustration ' ,
JTS109 15: 5050; cf. XTS203 18: 5779). Since the Tang had two capitals, in the
west (Chang' an) and the east (Luoyang), jingshi can refer to either of them. If
jingshi means Luoyang, then it could be easily ascertained that Meng Haoran
arrived in Luoyang in 728. Unfortunately, the termjingshi, more often than not,
refers to Chang' an, not Luoyang. Suffice it here to give an example provided by
Yan Tingzhi's inscription for Yifu, which we have referred to for several times
in this article:
, !f!f4"!El:tIJ ' 0 +liif: ' JiIlJl[
(QTW280 3: 2843a3-4) 0
In Kaiyuan 13 (725), Emperor [Xuanzong] travelled eastwards to
inspect the Heluo area. On purpose, he ordered [Yifu] to come to the
capital (Luoyang), where he was settled down at the Fuxiansi
monastery. In Kaiyuan 15 (727), he was allowed to go back to
jingshi (Chang' an).
Since the Fuxiansi was in Luoyang, we know that the "capital (du where he
was ordered to reside at the Fuxiansi refers to Luoyang, not Chang' an. As it is
As for the subject of this poem, the so-called "Zhan Shangren,"
although Meng Haoran did not give his full name in the poem, it was
very probably our monk-calligrapher Zhanran. Three observations
support this assumption.
First, the likelihood is very high that Meng Haoran and the monk-
calligrapher Zhanran were friends themselves, since not only did they
both come Jingzhou, but also they had Jia Sheng and Lu Xun as
mutual friends.
Secondly, it is from Longmen Town, where
Xiangshan is located, that the Zheng Deyao stele bearing Zhanran's 740
epitaph was excavated in 1988. This can be better explained on the
assumption that Zhanran was precisely Zhan Shangren, who, we now
know from Meng Haoran's poem, once resided at the Xiangshansi.
Finally, Meng Haoran dedicated another poem to a monk called Zhan
Fashi rtt$gffi (Dharma-master Zhan), who was, in all likelihood, Zhan
Shangren. In this poem, Meng Haoran extolled Dharma-master Zhan's
used in contrast to Helou (i.e., Luoyang) in this passage, the term jingshi
indicates, without any doubt, Chang' an.
Now that we know that it was in Chang' an, rather than Luoyang, that Meng
Haoran arrived in 728, do we know for certainty when his sojourn in Luoyang
was made? Some scholars of Tang poems are of the opinion that Meng Haoran
stayed in Luoyang from 724 to 726, exactly the same period when Xuanzong
moved from Chang'an to reside there (Fu 1987: 366). Apparently, Meng
Haoran chose to go to the eastern capital in this period for the purpose of seeking
a political career, an ambition he never fulfilled.
136. That Jia Sheng was befriended by Meng Haoran and Zhanran as well is
evidenced by the participation of Jia Sheng and Zhanran in the establishment of
Pei Guan stele, and Meng Haoran's poems for Jia Sheng. As for Lu Xun's
status as Meng Haoran and Zhanran's mutual friend, we have the following
facts. On the one hand, the friendship between Zhanran and Lu Xun is
confirmed by the fact that Lu Xun and Zhanran respectively drafted and executed
the calligraphy for the 740 epitaph for Zheng Deyao. On the other, Lu Xuan was'
among the seven people whom Wang Shiyuan (n.d.), the compiler of
Meng Haoran' s collection of works, listed in his preface to Meng's collection as
Meng's best friends (wangxing zhijiao (QTW378 4: 3837b5). Four
of Meng Haoran's extant poems, which were either related or exclusively
dedicated to Lu Xun, attest to their friendship (QTS159 5: 1629, QTS160 5:
1637, 1662, 1663; cf. Wu 1993: 409-10). Finally, the XTS reports that Lu Xun,
along with Meng Haoran, established on Mount Xian an memorial stele for his
former superior Han Sifu (n.d., biography in XTS118 14: 4271-73) (i&
, XTS1l8 14: 4273). Han Sifu died while
serving as the prefect of Xiangzhou Prefecture. Since Meng Haoran was a
Xiangyang native, he was referred to as "native [of Xiangyang]" [yiren sA] on
this occasion.
JIABS 22.1 50
consummate literary and calligraphic skills ,137 This image of Zhan
Fashi/Zhan Shangren perfectly matches what we now know about the
137. With an ambiguous title of "Huangshan yi Zhan Fashi (A poem
for Dharma Master Zhan, who returned to the mountain, QTS159 5: 1620), this
poem provides no clear clues to the time and place of its composition.
' 0 )L,jji))i3'p*J& ' 0
, 0 ' 0
, 0 t!l!mMJM ' 0
' 0 , 0
Learning the principle of non-birth from my childhood,
It has been my wish to contemplate this body.
Rarely having fulfilled my will,
I have been swamped by worldly affairs.
Returning to the old ravine in my late years,
I happened to be neighbor of Reverend Zhi,
who instructed me in the wondrous law,
and established for me the pure cause.
Spontaneously, my karma afflictions were cast off,
with the desire for the mountain and forest increasingly enhancing.
Coming to ask about my doubts in the morning,
I obtain pure reality by conversing with him in the evening.
His calligraphic excellence matches the classical and supreme
while the beauty of his composition amazes the populace.
His meditation room has an empty and serene atmosphere,
with peony flowers growing there throughout the four seasons.
His zither and ink-slab are placed on the flat stone,
and he washes his clothes under the falling waterfall.
" In order to experience the meaning of the abstruse destruction,
.. he is busy taming sea gulls from morning to evening.
This poem provides a sketch of the monk referred to as Zhan Fashi. In the eyes
of Meng Haoran, who was himself a prominent poet, this monk was not only a
skillful meditation master but also a highly accomplished artist (he was an
excellent calligrapher, writer and musician). In particular, it is remarkable that
Meng Haoran compared him to the Jin scholar-monk Zhi Dun (a.k.a Zhi
Daolin szm#, 314-66, GSZ biography in 348b-349c), who was celebrated for
his literary and philosophical accomplishment. All this suggests that this monk
must have reached if not passed the prime of life (most likely in his forties) by
the time Meng Haoran wrote this complimentary poem for him. As is to be
shown below, this Zhan Fashi was very likely Fuxiansi Zhanran, who sometime
between 720 and 726 moved from Xiangyang to Luoyang, where he first resided
at the Xiangshansi and sometime before 740 began to be affiliated with the Fu-
xiansi. While Zhanran continued to stay in Luoyang after 726, Meng Haoran in
Zhanran who was not only a renowned calligrapher but also an accom-
plished writer.
For these three reasons, I am inclined to believe that the friendship
between Meng Haoran and the monk-calligrapher Zhanran had already
been established in Xiangyang before it was renewed sometime between
724 and 726, when the former visited Luoyang while the latter dwelled
at the Xiangshansi in Longmen. This also enables us to date Zhanran's
arrival at Luoyang from Xiangyang to sometime between 720 and 726.
One more literary source refers to a monk called Zhanran as the abbot
of the Fuxiansi. This is a Tang poem entitled "Fuxiansi xun Zhanran
sizhu bujian J! (Seeking in vain for sizhu Zhanran
in the Fuxiansi Monastery)," which reads as follows:
' tttt?i1IHfrijj 0 ? 0
, 0 , 0 138
Alone, I stand still for a long while,
Hearing the tolling of the bells here and there.
Who detained the guest in the magnificent abode?
The two Shi peaks to the south-east [of Luoyang].
Rivers and lands are all becoming sky blue,
The open fields are turning the color of spring.
Seeing shades of dusk covering multi-storeyed city-walls saddens me,
still hopeful of an encounter on the way home.
It is disappointing that this poem was not dated, although we do know
the author to be Huangfu Ran ..ffi-14 (716/7-69/70).\39 Fortunately, a
the year left Luoyang for Yuezhou !IlHI'1 and fmally for his hometown in Xiang-
yang, where he died 14 years later (Pu 1987: 367-69). For this reason, I assume
that they had since got little chance to get together. Therefore, this poem was
written before 726, either when Zhanran was in Xiangyang (in that case the
mountain in question very likely referred to Xianshan), or sometime between
724 and 726 when Meng Haoran visited Luoyang and Zhanran lived at the
Xiangshansi (this poem was then written when Zhanran went back to Xiangshan
from Luoyang, where he met Meng Haoran). We can thus conclude that by 726
Zhanran had already been over forty years old. In other words, he must have
been born before 686. As we are going to see in Section (V), this dating will
become a piece of important evidence to decide whether or not Shangusi Zhanran
is actually identical with Fuxiansi Zhanran.
l38. QTS249 8: 2802.
139. Huangfu Ran has a two-line XTS entry in the Xin Tangshu (XTS202 18: 5771),
which is obviously based on Dugu Ii's preface to the collection of Huangfu
Ran's works, compiled by his younger brother Huangfu Zeng shortly after
Huangfu Ran's death. In addition, the Qing QTW compilers also provided a
JIABS 22.1 52
careful reading of biographical material about him, by Dugu Ii, suggests
a tentative time frame for this poem.
Here, we need to draw a brief sketch of Huangfu Ran's political career
on the basis of his biographical sources. In Tianbao 15 (756), when he
was 41 years old, Huangfu Ran took the nationaljinshi ("Presented
brief biographical note on Huangfu Ran, which was clearly based on Dugu Ii's
preface and the JTS entry. Except for one piece of evidence, it fails to provide
any additional information on Huangfu Ran's life.
Huangfu Ran was a native of Danyang of Runzhou f.!jj+1 (in present-day
Zhenjiang City of Jiangsu Province). He had a prominent forefather called
Huangfu Mi -rnlliffi: (282-215), a famous hermit in the Jin ff Dynasty (the im-
portance of this figure at this time is attested to by the unusual length of his lin
Shu biography [JS51 5: 1409-18]. The dates of Huangfu Ran's birth and death
are deduced from Dugu Ji's preface to Huangfu Ran's collection and some of
his extant poems believed to have been written to the end of his life. In the
preface, Dugu Ji briefly related the final stage of Huangfu Ran's life in this way,

/f$m$ ,
(QTW386 4: 3940b17-3941a1)
In Dali 2 (767), he was promoted to the position of Left Reminder,
and then was installed as Right Rectifier of Omissions. He was sent
to the jiangbiao region (i.e., south of the Yangtze River) on a
mission. He took the opportunity to visit his family in Danyang. The
government kept the position of the sanshu lang for him.
Unfortunately, his life-span was short, and he died when he was only
54 years old.
The sanshu ':::W ("Three Corps") refers to the three categories in which expec-
tant appointees called Gentlemen (lang were differentiated by rank. The three
groups were the Inner Gentlemen (zhong lang the attendant Gentlemen
(shilang and the Gentlemen of the Interior (langzhong each loose-
ly organized under a Leader of Court Gentlemen (zhongiangjiang under
overall supervision of the Chamberlain for Attendants (langzhongling
(HUCKER 1983: 401). A position in the "three corps" could be very promising
for one's political career. Dugu Ii regretted that Huangfu Ran's premature death
prevented him from doing justice to the great expectation the court had for him.
Dugu Ii's preface suggests that these events in Huangfu Ran's life, first promo-
tion to the post of a Left Reminder and then of the Right Rectifier of Omissions,
an official journey to the south, his visit at his hometown and his subsequent
death, all happened in or shortly after 767. In other words, he did not die too
long after that year. Further, since Huangfu Ran has left us a poem which was
probably written in 769 (or 770), his death can be tentatively dated to the time
(Pu 1987: 566-67). Given that he died at 54, he would have been born in 716 (or
Scholar") examination again after repeated failure and was ranked num-
ber one among all the candidates.l
This paved the way for his political
career. After briefly serving as a local official (District Defender [xian-
wei ofWuxi in present-day Jiangsu, he was appointed the
left Chamberlain for the Imperial Insignia (zuojinwu ft3l'Z:l-). He also
served in the Military Service Section (bincao When Wang Jin
was appointed the Vice Marshal (fu yuanshuai 11jCgrjJ) of the He'nan
Commandery in 765/6 or shortly thereafter, Huangfu Ran worked under
him as a Chief Secretariat (zhangshuji in 766/7.
Since the
headquarters of the Marshal of the He'nan Command was located in
Luoyang, this new post brought Huangfu Ran to Luoyang and kept him
there until 767 when he was first named Left Reminder (zuoshiyi
ftfifiR:) and then Right Rectifier of Omissions (youbuque ;t"1ilHm). This
means that Huangfu Ran stayed in Luoyang for barely one year.
Thus, according to Dugu Ji's preface, the short period between 765/6,
when Huangfu Ran began to work as a Chief Secretariat under Wang
Jin, and 767, when he was called back to the capital to serve as a Left
Reminder, was the only time Huangfu Ran spent in Luoyang.
140. Both the JTS entry and Dugu Ii's preface remain silent on the specific year of
the jinshi examination in which Huangfu Ran distinguished himself. The QTS
compilers date the examination to Tianbao 15, without giving the source for this
claim. This was at least the second time Huangfu Ran took the jinshi examina-
tion, for in one of his QTS poems (QTS249 8: 2800), he alludes to failure, at
least once, in the jinshi examination.
141. According to his JTS biography, it was in the year next to Guangde 2
(764), that is 765 or 767, that Wang Jin was promoted to the position of Vice
Marshal of He'nan Command (JTS1l8 14: 3416; cf. XTS145 15: 4715-16).
Accordingly, Huangfu Ran began to work under him after that time.
142. We cannot make this point without qualification. Giventhat Dugu Ii's preface
focuses on Huangfu Ran's post-jinshi period and that Huangfu Ran did not pass
the examination until he was 41 years old, we cannot exclude the possibility that
he visited Luoyang or even temporarily lived there before his political career
formally began following his outstanding performance in the 756 jinshi
examination. However, the following several considerations still incline me to
accept the period between 765/6 and 767 as the most likely date for Huangfu
Ran's stay in Luoyang and accordingly, for the composition of the poem in
which he expressed his regret at not seeing Zhanran at the Fuxiansi. First of all,
Dugu Ii's preface provides the earliest and the most complete biography for
Huangfu Ran. Secondly, Huangfu Ran was a native of Danyang, far from
Luoyang. Thirdly, from the fact that he visited his family in Danyang rightly
before his death, we know that his family still lived there even several years after
JIABS 22.1 54
quently, we can assume that his poem about Abbot Zhanran was com-
posed around 767. Since this Zhanran was called the Fuxiansi abbot
merely twelve years after a monk with the same dharma-name and
temple-affiliation wrote an epitaph for a Luoyang resident, it is safe to
assume that the Fuxiansi abbot was in fact the monk-calligrapher.
At this juncture, we must consider a final source probably also related
to this monk-calligrapher. It is reported in Degan's (n.d.) biography
in the Song gaoseng zhuan that he had a "formidable adversary" (qingdi
gJJj'8j)[) called Zhan Fashi mr!jjJ (Dharma-master Zhan),143 whom
he began to serve, making it unlikely that he lived alone in Luoyang for a
considerable amount of time when no social obligation requested him to do so.
143. 731c24; Degan was instrumental in manufacturing political propaganda in the
interest of Empress Wu at the end of the seventh century (cf. FORTE 1976;
particularly, 107-08). The importance of this monk in his day is demonstrated by
the fact that Empress Wu was said to have sent him a highly complimentary
letter, in which she compared him to N agarjuna and (731c18-20; cf.
FORTE: 100-01). FORTE is inclined to identify Degan as a Tiantai adherent, a
conclusion he draws from an analysis of the titles of some of Degan's works as
reported in his SGSZ biography. According to the SGSZ, Degan's works
included the Qifangbian [yi]--I::;jJ1 ([On the meaning] of the seven expe-
dients"), Ren huixin [yi] ([On the meaning] of the men who tum the
mind), liandunwu yi (On the meaning of the gradual and sudden en-
lightenment), all of which have not survived to us. Since the qifangbian clearly
refers to a concept invented by Zhiyi (538-597), the de facto founder of the
Tiantai school, FORTE argues that these works represented some expositions of
the Tiantai doctrines advocated by Zhiyi (FORTE 1976: 106-108).
As for Degan's relationship with this Dharma-master Zhan, the SGSZ reports,
0 (731c23-24), which FORTE translates as,
"[Degan's works] lost ground because of the bitter criticism of the Master of the
Law ChanE-jan] (pinyin, Zhan[ran]) (FORTE 1976: 101)." From this, FORTE
deduces that this Dharma-master Zhan criticized Degan's works so bitterly and
effectively that they eventually sank into oblivion (FORTE 1976: 107). As far as
Chinese monastic biographical/hagiographicalliterature is concerned, it is not
likely that the biographer reported in his biography something so negative for the
subject. This general rule has prompted me to understand this sentence in a way
different from FORTE's. I believe that the crucial phrase here is jiaosui Xt.t,
which refers to a Zuozhuan :;j:{$ saying. According to the Zuozhuan commen-
tator Du Yu ttm: (222-84), the jiaosui means that two armies both retreated
after a brief battle, through which both sides realized that neither of them
commanded decisive advantage over the other (MOROHASm 1: 538, Luo 2: 341;
for the originals in Zuozhuan and Du Yu's Commentary, see LUAN 1987:
1852a). Thus, Degan and this dharma-master Zhanran were presented as two
equally matched adversaries who once fiercely debated each other. This means
that they were contemporaries and had some personal contacts during their lives.
FORTE 'identifies as the Tiantai patriarch Zhanran.
However, this
critic of Degan was very likely Fuxiansi Zhanran, rather than Tiantai
Zhanran. Since the Song gaoseng zhuan reports that this Zhan Fashi
engaged in a bitter debate with Degan, he was without doubt Degan's
contemporary. began flourished between the end of the seventh century
and the beginning of the eighth century.145 Obviously, Tiantai Zhanran,
who was born in 711, was not likely to have debated with Degan in
person. Fuxiansi Zhanran, on the contrary, was already in Luoyang by
726. Furthermore, as I show in the next section, he was associated with
Chan (Northern Chan in particular), making it more plausible that he
was the one to criticize the Tiantai exponent Degan.146
On the basis of these sources, we can conclude the following about this
monk-calligrapher Zhanran. As a native of Hanyang, he had already
been respected as a calligrapher as early as 720 when he wrote a memo-
rial inscription for Pei Guan at Mount Xi an in Xiangyang, where he
made friends with literati including Meng Haoran, Jia Sheng, and
probably also Pei Guan, a high-ranking local official in Jingzhou.
Sometime after 720 but before 726, he entered Luoyang (presumably
from Xiangyang), where he was first affiliated with the Xiangshansi in
Longmen and then, sometime between 740 and 742, with the Da
Fuxiansi Monastery. This temple-affiliation lasted at least until 754
when he was asked to execute the calligraphy for one more funeral epi-
taph. Since the An Lushan Rebellion broke out in 755,147 we do not
know whether or not this Zhanran continued to stay at the Fuxiansi after
144. FORTE 1976: 107.
145. FORTE 1976: 106.
146, Degan's SGSZ biography merely observes that he died when he was over 60
(713c22). On the premise that Degan's activity is fairly known for the period
685-703, FORTE assumed that he was born around 640 (FORTE 1976: 106). In
other words, he believed that Degan died around 703. However, if my
identification of Zhan Fashi is correct, we have to assume that Degan lived
beyond 720 and debated the monk-calligrapher Zhanran, who arrived in
Luoyang between 720 and 726.
147. During the seven-year war between the Tang and the rebellious An Lushan and
Shi Siming .t:JG\EJ,El (?-761), Luoyang was captured twice by the rebellious army.
The first capture happened on 18th January 756 (Tianbao 14.XII.12). It lasted
until3rd December 757 (Zhide ~ 1 ~ 2XI8), when the Tang army reclaimed the
city with the help of the Uighurs. The rebellious army recaptured the capital on
the 7th June 760 (Shangyuan LIV.19) and held it until 20th November 762
(Baoying l.X-30) (JTSlO 1: 230, XTS5 1: 151; cf. FORTE 1988: 225-26).
JIABS 22.1 56
that time. However, it is certain that by 767 he had already been made
the abbot of the monastery and therefore had been based there for quite
a long time.
Finally, two things must be noted about this ,monk. First,
he was a bitter critic of Tiantai. Second, as evidenced by three funeral
epitaphs he either wrote and/orexecuted calligraphy for, he maintained
connections to all of the four most prestigious clans at his time; they
were the Li family in Zhaojun (his 742 epitaph), the Lu family in
Fanyang (the 740 and 742 epitaphs), the Zheng family in Xingyang (the
754 epitaph) and the Cui family in Boling (the 754 epitaph).
Here we are faced with one more problem. The Tang dynasty saw a
Monk Zhaman ("Shi Zhaman celebrated as a remarkable cal-
ligrapher. The Tang calligraphic critic Lti Zong (n.d.) thought very
highly of this monk's calligraphic achievement, saying in his Xu shuping
(Continuation of the Shuping [comments on calligraphy]) that
none after the Han writer Yang Xiong mftt (53-18 BC) compared to
him.149 Zhaman was also highly esteemed as a calligrapher by Tao
Zongyi Jl1iY7'FHi (7-13967),150 the Ming author of the Shushi huiyao
compendium of the essentials about the history of callig-
raphy). According to Tao Zongyi, Zhaman followed Zhong Yao .,*
(151-230) in his calligraphic style and the elegance of his calligraphic
work could be compared to the Hengyue bei (Stele of Mount
Heng).151 Neither Tao Zongyi nor Lti Zong bothered to provide any
information about this monk-calligrapher Zhaman. Art historians have
unanimously agreed that he was Tiantai Zhanran.
However, now that
the status of Fuxiansi Zhanran as a calligrapher is firmly established by
at least four epitaphs (while no evidence shows that either Tiantai
Zhaman or Shangusi Zhaman was ever respected as a skillful calligra-
pher), we must accept Fuxiansi Zhanran, rather than his Shangusi or
Tiantai homonymous contemporary, as the celebrated mid-Tang monk-
148. Generally speaking, a monk would not have been made the sizhu of a temple
until he had lived there for a considerably long period.
149. 836: 177)." Here I have to acknowledge the
tentative nature of my identification of the calligrapher styled Ziyun as Yang
Xiong. It is possible that there was another calligrapher with the same style
150. Tao Zongyi was the author of the Shuofu a massive encyclopedic work.
151. , ' (SKQS 814: 717b)."
152. ZHU 1991; LI 1996: 255.
Now we have to consider the problem of whether or not Fuxiansi
Zhanran can be identified with either Shangusi Zhanran or Tiantai
Zhanran. While it is rather certain that Fuxiansi Zhanran could not have
been Tiantai Zhanran (the latter was only nine years old when the
former wrote Ills inscription for Pei Guan in 720),153 it is not so easy to
153. I argued before for the identity of the authors of the four inscriptions on the basis
of the fact that they were all named Zhanran, monk-calligraphers, and contempo-
raries. However, we should also consider the possibility (no matter how slight it
might be) that the Zhanran writing for Pei Guan in 720 and the Zhanran who
wrote in 740 were different from Fuxiansi Zhanran, who wrote in 742 and 754.
Even assuming this extremely slight possibility, it is hard to identity Fuxiansi
Zhanran with Tiantai Zhanran.
By Tianbao 1 (742) Fuxiansi Zhanran had already been ordained (since he
calls himself a sramalJa in the 742 epitaph he prepared for Madame Lu) and was
formally affiliated with an outstanding monastery in Luoyang. On the other
hand, no source identifies Tiantai Zhanran as a monk prior to 742 when he was
The SGSZ, the earliest surviving source for the life of Tiantai Zhanran, is not
consistent on the date of Zhanran's ordination. Zanning (919-1001), Tian-
tai Zhanran's SGSZ biographer, first uses the ambiguous expression tianbao
chunian (T2061.50.739b25), meaning the early Tianbao era (742-55).
Then, towards the end of the biography, he says that Zhanran' s clerical life lasted
34 years, which implies that Zhanran became a monk in 748 (Tianbao 7). Since
the Tianbao era lasted 14 years, Tianbao 7 is the middle of the era, which would
work against the idea that Zhanran's ordination took place during the early
Tianbao era. The FZTJ, another basic source for Tiantai Zhaman's life, clearly
gives Tianbao 7 (748) as the year Zhaman gave up his allegiance to Confucian-
ism and formally took up a Buddhist clerical career '
Zhipan probably arrived at this date on the basis of
the number of Zhaman's cleric years given by the SGSZ. Despite this
discrepancy, we can, on the basis of the FZTJ and SGSZ, at least assume that
Tiantai Zhanran became a monk no earlier than 742, when the Tianbao era began.
Even if we understand the expression Tianbao chunian in the SGSZ biography
to mean the first year of the Tianbao era (742), which is very unlikely (had
Zhaman's SGSZ biographer meant the first year of the Tianbao era, he would
have used the expression Tianbao yuannian no source indicates that
Zhaman ever travelled to, let alone lived in, Luoyang at anytime during that
period. On the contrary, reliable sources show that from his ordination until
several years after 754, Tiantai Zhanran remained in the south-eastern coastal
areas, never venturing to the north:

W:iIT (T50.2061.739b25-28) 0
In the early Tianbao era, taking off the robes of a Confucian, he
registered himself as a Buddhist priest. Subsequently, he went to
nABS 22.1 58
determine with certainty whether or not Fuxiansi Zhanran was
Shangusi Zhanran. Before trying to tackle this elusive problem, let us
look at the religious beliefs and circle Fuxiansi Zhanran, shared with
Shangusi Zhanran, which, at first appearance, might suggest that they
were actually the same person ..
V. The Religious Background of Fuxiansi Zhanran and His
Relationship with Shangusi Zhanran
A useful clue to the religious background of Fuxiansi Zhanran is, inter-
estingly, the family background described in the epitaph Fuxiansi Zhan-
ran wrote in 742. The family background of interest to us is not, how-
ever, that of Magistrate Lu, but rather that of his wife. As a matter of
fact, nothing is known about Magistrate Lu (we do not even know his
given name), except for his native place, which the epitaph gives as Fan-
yang. We are, however, told something about the family background of
Madame Lu. She was a member of the renowned Li * family of Zhao-
jun the same family to which Li Chang, who built a pagoda for
Sengcan at Wangongshan, belonged. In addition, the epitaph identifies
Madame Lu as a grand-daughter of Li Ci (n.d.), the Vice Prefect
(sima of HuangzhouJiUI'1 Prefecture, and a daughter of Li Qin-
shou (n.d.), a Vice Administer of the Bureau of Evaluation
(kaogong yuanwailang While nothing is known about Li
Ci, Li Qinshou was a notorious "cruel official (kuli W!il' who is men-
tioned several times in the new and old Tang histories. If the authors of
the two Tang histories can be trusted, Li Qinshou was rather greedy and
Yuezhou, where he attended the vinaya lectures convened by Vinaya
Master Tanyi (691-771), extensively seeking the precepts which
counter misbehaviors and formulate norms. In addition, he promul-
gated cessation and contemplation at the Kaiyuansi temple. Shortly
later, [his teacher] Master Xuanlang died. He began to move alone
around the south-eastern areas, carrying esoteric texts with him.
According to this SGSZ passage, Tiantai Zhanran went to study with Tanyi in
Yuezhou (in present-day Zhejiang) immediately following his ordination. After
spending some time with Tanyi, he began to preach on Tiantai at the Kaiyuansi
in Wujun, also in present-day Zhejiang. His Kaiyuansi lectures ended with the
death of his master Xuanlang in 754, which approximately coincided with the
social turmoil issuing from the An Lushan Rebellion (755-63) and threw him
into a life of instability, moving here and there, as noted earlier. There is no
possibility that he went to the north during this period and registered himself as a
formal resident at the Fuxiansi.
cruel by nature. He seemed to have been fairly active and powerful
under the reign of Empress Wu. According to the accusations against
him after his fall from power, he had tortured and killed some members
of the Li imperial family-house, and "venomously framed innocent and
honest people."154 Like other more notorious "cruel officials" including
Lai Junceng (651-97) and Zhou Xing Y<m$. (7-691),155 Li
Qinshou threw his lot in with Empress Wu and was instrumental in re-
moving Li imperial members who might have posed a threat or simply
been obstacles to her ambition. His role in defending Empress Wu's new
rule made him an object of revenge when the Li family restored the
Tang dynasty. On the eighth day of the third month of Shenlong 1
(705), almost immediately after his enthronement, Zhongzong i:fJ* (r.
705-09) issued a decree to vent Li family's rage against the clique of
Wu officials. The edict severely condemned the heinous deeds of "cruel
officials" in persecuting their political rivals. Most of the senior mem-
bers of the clique had already died by that time, but three of the
survivors were banished to Lingnan including Li Qinshou.
Hatred for Li Qinshou seems to have been widespread and sustained.
Eighteen years after he was banished by Zhongzong, efforts were still
being made to prevent his descendants from pursuing any form of politi-
cal career. The compilers of the Jiu Tangshu inform us of a memorial
submitted on the twelfth day of the third month of Kaiyuan 13 (725), in
which the Censor-in-chief (yushi daju 1fEiJ5t::*5';;:) Cheng Xingchen f1.1'-T
(n.d.) condemned the cruel behavior of twenty-three officials, includ-
ing Li Qinshou, formerly castigated and proposed that their descendants
be permanently banned from service.1
154. JTS186 15: 4841.
155. Their biographies in the two Tang histories are found in JTS186 15: 4837-42,
XTS209 19: 5905-08.
156. "**Bt' tr1=y' ' (ITS7 1: 138)."
157. "7"1J!f*isZ:' ' 'lwJl*:Jil!i.m ' (JTS186 15: 4841)." The
two Tang histories allude to a general called Li Qinshou who served under the
rebellious military leader Shi Sirning. This Li Qinshou was captured by Ii
Guangbi *%515 (708-64) around 760. In other sources, he is presented as Ii
Tai ** (JTSllO 10: 3316). Even if the name given by the two Tang histo-
ries for the general is correct, this Li Qinshou cannot be identified as the "cruel
official" Li Qinshou. As early as 707, Li Qinshou had been denounced as a
notorious "cruel official." He must have been over thirty by then. Accordingly,
he must have been over eighty by 760, obviously too old to serve in an army
rebelling against the Tang. Furthermore, the role of. the general seems
incompatible with the Ii Qinshou who was known as a court official.
JIABS 22.1 60
A mere years had passed between 725, when the condemna-
tion of Li Qinshou was renewed, and 742, when Zhanran composed the
epitaph for one of Li Qinshou's daughters. We cannot ther,efore assume
that the condemnation of Li Qinshou had significantly changed or been
forgotten by the time FuxiansiZhanran was requested to make the epi-
taph. In view of this, one cannot help but wonder why Zhanran,who,
given that he was affiliated with an illustrious monastery like the Fu-
xiansi, was obviously a prominent monk, had decided to write an
epitaph for a woman whose father was then a social and political
Zhanran would have known very well that to write an
epitaph was to wed himself to an officially condemned and popularly
reviled official. He would also have clearly known that the ties thus
established would literally have been indelible because his name was to
be carved on the stone stele with that of Li Qinshou, the father of the
subject of his epitaph. How should we understand the decision of
Fuxiansi Zhanran to write the epitaph?
The reader might have noticed that not only did Magistrate Lu come
from the same native place as the great sixth Chan patriarch Huineng
was supposed to have, he also shared a common family name with him.
A common ancestor might not have been too many generations distant
from Huineng and Magistrate Lu. At any rate, a person sharing a com-
mon family name and native place with the Sixth Patriarch would neces-
sarily have invited deep respect and a sense of close affinity from any
follower of the religious tradition initiated by him. This might lead one
to explain this perplexing action of Zhanran with the hypothesis that he
had some Southern Chan background, which tied him with Huineng to
the extent that he ventured to write an epitaph for Madame Lu in defi-
ance of the potential risk to his own reputation and monastic career.
158. Gursso (1978) shows that later court historians vilified both Empress Wu and
her accomplices to the extent that virtually nothing concerning her reign was not
written without serious distortion and/or exaggeration. In view of this, the
historical veracity of the image of Li Qinshou as depicted by the two Tang
histories cannot be accepted without reservation. However, since Li Qinshou
was repeatedly condemned by the Tang court, it is of little doubt that he was
rancorously hated by the Tang rulers.
159. If this were indeed the case, we have to assume that by the 740s, Southern Chan
had already become influential enough to make its presence felt at a prestigious
temple in the eastern capital of the Tang Empire. We cannot categorically exclude
the presence of Southern Chan at the Da Fuxiansi. By 741 Huineng had been
No mci.tter how plausible and exciting this hypothesis might sound, it
must be abandoned for the following two reasons. First of all, while
whether or not Huineng was originally a Fanyang native is debatable, no
evidence unambiguously establishes that he was already considered so by
742 when Fuxiansi Zhanran wrote the epitaph for Madame Lu. As far as
I know, no source earlier than the ninth century represents Huineng as a
Fanyang native, while the earliest known version of the Platform Sutra,
the version excavated from Dunhuang, tells us that his father served in
Fanyang before he was banished to Lingnan in present-day Guangxi
Province, without explicitly identifying him as a native of Fanyang.
A memorial inscription the poet W ang Wei contributed to Huineng,
which represented the earliest reliable biographical source we have ever
known, strongly suggests that Huineng was not coming from a presti-
gious family based in the central part of China.
Furthermore, evi-
dead for almost three decades (713) and Shenhui's famous campaign at Huatai
mE: had occurred nearly one decade earlier, in 732. It is possible that by that
time Southern Chan might have already gained ground in some northern parts of
China, particularly in the Luoyang area, thanks to Shenhui's influence in nearby
Nanyang Despite its close connection to Northern Chan, the Fuxiansi
seemed to have also lodged at least one monk who was, at least for some time,
known as a Shenhui sympathizer. Shenhui' s yulu trefjijc records that a Fuxiansi
monk was among Shenhui' s supporters who applauded him and solicited him to
lecture during his Huatai sermons (Hu 1982: 269).
160. The original text in the Dunhuang manuscript, which was probably written
between 830 and 860 (YAMPOLSKY 1967: 90), reads, "benguan Fanyang
(the English translation of the relevant passage found in
Y AMPOLSKY 1967: 126). One might suggest that the term benguan here must be
read as benguan ;z!s:l{ (native place) (as a matter of fact, this is exactly a change
some later editors of the Platform Satra made in their texts; see Komazawa
daigaku zenshiishi kenkyiikai 1978: 275). I see no convincing reason for this
reading, the two characters ' and l{ not being similar enough in form to have
made it likely that l{ was mis-written as '.
161. it!. 0 '
0 " Quotation is from YANAGIDA 1967: 540. While it is almost a
consensus among Chan scholars that this inscription is authentic, its date is an
issue of controversy nonetheless. HU Shi provides two conflicting dates for the
inscription in one of his articles: ca. 734, 753-56 (Hu 1953: 10-13), while
GERNET suggests 740 (1951: 48) for its date. YAMPOLSKY, who provides a
paraphrase of Wang Wei's inscription in YAMPOLSKY 1967: 66-67, disagreeing
with both Hu Shi and GERNET, puts the composition of the inscription after 740.
At any rate, since Wang Wei died in 759, the inscription, as far as its attribution
to Wang Wei can be accepted, was definitely written before the year, less than
half a century after Huineng died in 713.
JIABS 22.1 62
dence suggests that Huineng was recognized as a member of the famous
Lu family in Fanyang just to compensate for the obscurity of the far-off
place in which he was born and raised, which was close to ,the southern
border of China.
Secondly, sufficient evidence shows that the Fuxiansi was closely
related to the Northern Chan tradition. Here, a brief history of this
important monastery is necessary.163
The Da Fuxiansi was founded by Empress Wu in Shangyuan J:.j[; 2
(675) as Taiyuansi tJ.:l: for the posthumous well-being of her mother.
It became a dasi (literally, "Great Monastery"; actually "Dynastic
Monastery") of the Zhou in 690 (690-705).164 It was at this time' that it
received the name "Da Fuxiansi." Empress Wu personally composed a
memorial inscription in the pianwen mtX ("rhyme prose") style for this
monastery.165 FORTE regards the Fuxiansi as the most important transla-
tion center in Luoyang during the late seventh and early eighth cen-
Indeed, six Trepiraka
masters (Divakara, Devendraprajfia,
Bodhiruci [?-727], Yijing, MaJ:.licintana [i.e., Baosiwei
?-721], Subhakarasirpha [i.e., Shanwuwei [637-735])
successively worked at this monastery from 680 to 724.
Other promi-
nent monks associated with this monastery include Fabao 1t. (n.d.),
162. After giving his native place as Fanyang, Huineng's SGSZ biography
emphasizes that his family background was underscored for the purpose of
removing the impression that he came from a backward, uncivilized place on an
isolated island ' 754c3).
163. FORTE 1973 remains the best study of the Fuxiansi Monastery. He is now
working on a monograph on this monastery (FORTE forthcoming).
164. FORTE 1996: 366.
165. text of this inscription is now preserved in QTW98 1: 101Oa-12a. A partial
translation of this lengthy and difficult composition is to be done in FORTE'S
forthcoming monograph on the Fuxiansi.
166. FORTE 1996a: 444.
167. FORTE has reconstructed the Sanskrit original for Chinese term sanzang as
Trepitaka (Trepitaka in feminine gender), rather than Tripitaka, as is commonly
assumed (FORTE 1990: 247-48). Here I follow FORTE's reconstruction.
168. FORTE 1996a: 440. For Manicintana, see FORTE 1984, which remains the most
thorough study of this monk. SubhakarasiIpha's connection to this
monastery is remarkably important in the history of Chinese Esoteric Buddhism.
It was at this temple that in 724 he finished translating into Chinese the Darijing
7::. B 1.&1 (Mahavairocana-sutra), probably the most important text for East Asian
Esoteric Buddhism (T2061.50.715b17-18; cf. Ch'ou 1945: 265),
Daoyin m:C (668-740), Ziyu (? -752), and Daopi m:7G (889-
In particular, this monastery seems to have maintained strong ties to
the Northern Chan tradition. As is confirmed by Yan Tingzhi's inscrip-
tion for Yifu, the Fuxiansi was the place where Du Fei i'Hlli (n.d.)., an-
other important Chan adept who was also the author of the renowned
Chan historico-biographical collection, the Chuanfabao ji,170 instructed
Yifu in Mahayana Buddhism.
After establishing himself as a presti-
gious Chan master, Yifu returned to the Fuxiansi in Kaiyuan 13 (725) at
the order of Xuanzong, who was then conducting an inspection tour in
Luoyang. Yifu resided at the monastery for two years, until Kaiyuan 15
(727), when he, with Xuanzong's consent, returned to Chang'an.172
The legendary Northern Chan master Renjian C 15& (n. d.), who was
better known for his two sobriquets, "Tengteng Heshang 5D [;16" and
"Hanhan Heshang also came from this monastery.173 A
piece of conversation allegedly conducted between Empress Wu and him
became an oft-quoted story in the Chan literature.
What is particularly
noticeable of Renjian for our purpose here is his direct, personal
connections to Empress Wu.
Qiwei, whom we have already met in Section (II) as a second genera-
tion disciple of Puji and a possible fellow-monk of Shangusi Zhaman,
169. Cf. T50.2161.727b, 734c, 876c, 818c.
170. For Du Fei, see YANAGIDA 1971: 329-51 and MCRAE 1986: 86-87.
171. QTW280 3: 2842alO-11.
172. QTW280 3: 2843a3-4. This passage was already quoted and translated in note
173. FORTE's forthcoming Fuxiansi monograph will provide a detailed discussion of
this Chan monk's connection to the Da Fuxiansi.
174. T51.2076.232c15-21; ct. FORTE, forthcoming. The story (or anecdote?) has it
that one day in the Tiance Wansui era (this brief era lasted less than
three months), the empress bestowed an audience on the monk in the court.
Throughout the audience, he said nothing and it was at the end of the audience
that he broke the silence by the remark that he was observing the "precept of
wordlessness (wuyujie On the following day, the monk sent to the
empress nineteen short poems, which impressed her very much. The poems
were edited by the empress' order and began to circulate among the populace
rapidly. A poem entitled "Liaoyuan ge (poem of understanding the fun-
damental)," which is still preserved in the lingde chuandeng lu, is generally
believed to be one of these nineteen monks composed by this monk.
JIABS 22.1 64
was also ordained as a monk at this monastery by the eminent Vinaya
master Dingbin 5EJf.175 .
Finally, Daoxuan (702-60), who has been mainly remembered
for his role in introducing the vinaya teachings to Japan, had close con-
nections to the Fuxiansi.
He was ordained at the Da Fuxiansi
Dingbin, under whom he studied the sifenlii [g 711$ vinaya at the same
monastery. After staying at the Fuxiansi for several years, Daoxuan left
to pursue other forms of Buddhism, including the Nanshanifrll tradi-
175. QTW501 5: 5105b3-4. For a brief biography for Dingbin, see a Jl,Ipanese
biographical collection for Chinese and Japanese Vinaya masters, Ritsuen saba
den (BZ105:60a-b), completed by Eken (1649-1704) in 1689.
Much evidence shows that Dingbin was an important vinaya monk celebrated
during his life for his achievement in vinaya teachings. He belonged to the
xiangbu sect of the Liizong. In an epitaph dedicated to Guangxuan J1{'f!3
(755-827), who was Dingbin's second-generation disciple, Dingbin is praised
for having turned the Fuxiansi into a centre of vinaya study for the whole
country (LUOYANG WENWU GONGZUODU11991: 645). In addition to presiding
over the ordination of the Qiwei and Daoxuan, Dingbin was responsible for
conferring the orthodox sifenlil ordinations on the two Japanese monks Eiei
(d. 748) and Fusho l!!flWl (d. 758?), who in 733 journeyed to China in se<JIch of
a vinaya master willing to go to Japan to perform orthodox ordinations there
(TOKUDA 1969: 503; GRONER 1984: 23). Finally, it is noteworthy that Dingbin
seems to be the monk whom Subhakarasirpha's SGSZ biography refers to as
"Bin Liishi (Preceptor Bin), who, among others, supervised the funeral
ceremony of Subhakarasirpha (ZHOU 1945: 270).
176. The importance of this Chinese monk derived partly from his status as the
teacher of Gyohyo '1'T* (722-97), Saich6's (767-822) preceptor. The
primary biographical source for Daoxuan is a simple account provided by
Kibino Makibi i5f1IlJ!HfIl (693-775), who during his diplomatic mission in
China, established a friendship with Daoxuan. This account by Kibi was quoted
in two works either attributed to Saich6 and one of his main disciples. The fIrst
is the Naishi5 buppa soja kechimyakufu (Diagrammatic de-
scription of the secretly certified blood-lineages of the Buddha-dharma; DZ 1:
211-213), attributed to SaichO but actually completed, as I argued in my
dissertation, at least several decades after Saicho's death in 822 (CHEN Jinhua
1997: 82-92). The second is a Tendai historico-biographical collection compiled
by SaichO's disciple Kanjo 7\:;Jt (779-858), the Denjutsu isshinkaimon
ILdtlGX (Articles related to the transmission of the "one-mind precepts"; DZ 1:
617-18). Other relevant information for Daoxuan's life can be found in BZ
101: 3al-12, 66b8-67a1, 190a8-b3; BZ 102: 71b4-72a9; BZ 105: 117b11-
118a6, most of which appear similar as a whole (they might have been based on
one and the same source, presumably Kibi's account).
177. In the Kechimyakufu the Da Fuxiansi is wrongly written as Dai
Fukukoji (Chin. Da Fuguangsi) (DZ 1: 211).
tion of vinaya teachings, Huayan, Tiantai and Northern Chan, which he
studied at Songshan under Puji. He later returned to the Da Fuxiansi,
where he stayed until the two Japanese monks Eiei and Fush6 succeeded
in: persuading him to travel to Japan in 736.
Given (i) Fuxiansi's Northern Chan background and (ii) the mounting
opposition between the Northern and Southern Chan traditions at that
time, it is hard to explain Fuxiansi Zhanran's decision to write an epi-
taph for Madame Lu with the hypothesis that he was a fervent follower
of Huineng. By contrast, the following explanation seems to make more
sense. The basis of this explanation consists of the following two facts:
first, the Da Fuxiansi was a monastery of the Wu family; and second, Li
Qinshou was a supporter of Empress Wu. Evidence shows that the status
of the Fuxiansi as a Great Monastery persisted several decades after
Empress Wu's demise.178 It seems that its disgrace following Empress
Wu's demise did not prevented the Wu family from funding the Fuxian-
si, which continued to exist and function as an influential monastery
beyond the 830s, or even throughout the whole Tang Dynasty.I79 In
178. FORTE 1996a: 460 and his forthcoming Fuxiansi monograph.
179. We know that the Fuxiansi was still functioning well at the time of Liu Yuxi
(772-842, biographies in JTS160 13: 4210-13, XTS168 16: 5128-32)
and Bai Juyi (772-846, biographies in-JTSl60 13: 4340-58, XTS168
14: 4300-05), who, as evidenced by their poems, met and exchanged poems at
this monastery (QTS360 11: 4065, QTS462 14: 5255). Bai Juyi's poem
suggests that it was written shortly before Liu Yuxi left for Yuling m@: (i.e., Da
Yuling ::km@: in Jiangxi and Guangdong Provinces), which referred to Liu
Yuxi's 805 exile to Lianzhou (in present-day Guangdong Province). More-
over, Huangfu Shi's (n.d.) XTS biography reports that the important
Tang politician Pei Du (763-838, two Tang official biographies found in
JTS120 14: 441335; XTS173 17: 5209-19), while serving as the Regent
(liushou 'ii''<T) of the eastern capital Luoyang, made efforts to renovate the Fu-
xiansi (XTS 173 17: 5267). Pei Gu assumed his regency of Luoyang from Taihe
*5fo 8 (834) (XTSI73 17: 5218-19) and he died four years later. The renova-
tion of the Fuxiansi therefore occurred between 834 and 838. While it remains
uncertain what prompted Pei Du to renovate such a politically complicated
monastery, it is clear that the Fuxiansi prospered beyond at least the 830s,
namely, almost one and half centuries after the Wu family's political clout WaS
drastically diminished by the demise of its matriarch in 705. Finally, it might be
an historical irony that a conversation conducted between Zhaozong BB * (r.
888-904), the second last Tang emperor, and a minister at the Fuxiansi led to (at
least partly) the murder of Zhaozong himself and five of his princes, and
therefore eventually to the demise of the Tang Dynasty. The JTS infonns us that
after learning Zhu Wen's *r:' (852-912, who established in 907 a dynasty
JIABS 22.1 66
view of this, it should not corneas a surprise at all that a Da Fuxiansi
monk wrote an epitaph for the daughter of a former official loyal to the
monastery's most prominent sponsor.
Furthermore, an analysis of Huangfu Ran's poem suggests that
Fuxiansi Zhanran had Chan (or we can even say more specifically,
Northern Chan) ties. What might have immediately attracted the atten-
tion of a reader interested in Buddhism is the poem's reference to the
two peaks of the celebrated Song Mountains, the Taishifeng and
Shaoshifeng which are usually mentioned jointly as Ershifeng
The Ershifeng were sometimes used to refer to Mount Song,
which, located approximately seventy kilometers southeast of Luoyang,
has been recognized as the Central Mountain (zhongfeng CPII$:) among
China's Five Sacred Mountains. The two lines in the poem make it clear
that Zhanran was then visiting Mount Song.
Huangfu Ran might have
learned this from the Fuxiansi monks who knew their abbot's where-
abouts. Mount Song is well known for its particularly close connection
to and extraordinary prominence in Chan Buddhism.
At that time, the
Later Liang to replace the Tang) plan of removing his oldest prince Dewang
(d. 804), Zhaozong aired his resent to Zhu Wen's accomplice Jiang Xu an-
hui (biography in XTS223 20: 6360-61) during their visit at the Fuxian-
si. Zhaozong's complain, after conveyed to Zhu Wen by Jiang Xuanhui,
exacerbated Zhu Wen and prompted him to kill the royal family in 804 (JTS175
14: 4546; it is Antonino Forte who drew my attention to this meaningful
historical episode). Was it not a destiny that the Fuxiansi, a monastery with
inextricable ties to Empress Wu, who substituted her reign for the rule of Li
family for two decades, was associated with an event accelerating the final
withdrawal of the Li family from the center of political stage which it had
dominated for almost three centuries? We do not know. But it is of interest to us
that even to the very end of the Tang Dynasty the Fuxiansi was still working
well enough to attract Xuanzong's presence there.
180. lowe this explanation to Antonino Forte.
181. The two lines in question are gao guan shui liu ke? dongnan Ershifeng i@jMiMEm
whose literal meaning see my translation in Sec-
tion (IV).
182. The Chan tradition identifies Mount Song as the site where the first Chan
patriarch Bodhidharma practised meditation by facing a wall for nine years and
the place where Huike allegedly severed an arm to show his sincerity and
determination to study under Bodhidharma. The two Chan patriarchs'
connections to Mount Song were legendary and probably might have no
historical veracity. However, this did not prevent Mount Song from becoming a
- and arguably, the - sacred mountain of Chan Buddhism. For Songshan's close
connections to early Chan, see particularly TONAMI 1990 and FAURE 1991.
mountain had been turned into an important center of Northern Chan
partly due to activities of a number of renowned Northern Chan masters
at the mountain.
Although one may be justifiably reluctant to con-
clude from Zhanran's pilgrimage to Mount Song that he was a Northern
Chan master with formal sectarian affiliation, his sympathy with, if not
admiration for, that Buddhist tradition is beyond question. This means
that Fuxiansi Zhanran actually shared some common form at Buddhism
with Shangusi Zhanran, who was an enthusiastic Northern Chan leader.
Moreover, the two Zhanrans shared some common friends, which
might have made them friends as well. On the side of Shangusi Zhanran,
his first friend to be mentioned here is of course Li Chang. They
cemented their ties through the building project and maintenance of the
pagoda for Sengcan.
Secondly, Shangusi Zhanran's close connections
with Dugu Ii have been amply shown. Thirdly, since Huangfu Zeng was
one of Dugu Ii's friends who had accompanied the latter during his
183. Puji's connection to Mount Song are well documented in his epitaph written by
Li Yong (678-747, QTW262 3: 2658a) and other sources, including the
SGSZ biography for Yixing -11' (673-727), who once studied under him be-
fore turning to other Buddhist traditions (T2061.50.733c). Puji entered Mount
Song around 689 after shortly studying Tiantai and Vinaya teachings with
Hongjing at the Yuquansi. He went to Mount Song for the purpose of seeking
Faru's instruction in Chan. To his disappointment, he found that Faru had been
dead shortly before his arrival. He had to turn to Shenxiu, who was then also
based at the Yuquansi, for Chan instructions. After training him for several
years, Shenxiu adviced Puji to go back to Mount Song, where he led a Chan
community at the Songyuesi
Yifu, perhaps the most famous fellow-disciple of Puji, also maintained close
ties with the same mountain. Not unlike his senior fellow-disciple, he went to
Mount Song to seek discipleship under Faru and ended up disappointed by the
latter's death. And also like Puji, he apparently returned to Mount Song after
staying with Shenxiu for several years, since his epitaph informs us that he
resided at a temple on Mount Song before going to Chang'an in the Shenlong
era (705-06) (QTW280 3: 2842b7-8).
In addition to Faru and these two of his admirers, those renowned Northern
Chan masters like Laoan t5!i.' (a.ka Daoan m5!i.' or Huian 582-708
T2061.50.822bI2-c21, T2076.51.231cl-29), Pozhao liIil1: (T2076.51.232c22-
233b6) aIld Yuangui 5GJ1 (T.2076.51.233b7-234aI6) were associated with
Mount Song.
184. As Shangusi ZhaIlran moved to Wangongshan after Li Chang sponsored the
erection of the Wangongshan pagoda for Sengcan and renovated the originally
deserted Shangusi temple at the mountain, it might be speculated with some
certainty that he was actually invited to the ShaIlgusi by Li Chang after the latter
completed restoring the temple.
JIABS 22.1 68
sojourns at the Shangusi temple which Shangusi Zhanran had super-
intended for years, he must have also been a close friend of Shangusi
Zhanran. Finally, we have to consider his probable with
Huangfu Ran. The brotherhood between Huangfu Ran and Huangfu
Zeng makes it highly probable that Shangusi Zhanran extended his
friendship from Huangfu Zeng to his older brother. If not, the friend-
ship between Shangusi Zhanran and Huangfu Ran could have easily been
established through Dugu Ji, who was a close friend to them both. Here,
we must emphasize the unusually close relationship between Dugu Ji and
the Huangfu brothers.
Let us begin with Dugu Ji's friendship with the younger brother.
Several of Dugu Ji's extant poems were written for, or in connection
with, Huangfu Zeng. We have already discussed the two poems by Dugu
Ji, both written as responses to poems from Huangfu Zeng. Dugu Ji has
left to us two more poems dedicated to Huangfu Zeng.
As for Dtigu Ji
and Huangfu Ran, two of the latter's poems attest to their ties.
Finally, the following fact unmistakably establishes Dugu Ji's close
connections to the Huangfu brothers: after finishing the compilation of
his late brother's works into an anthology, Huangfu Zeng requested
Dugu Ji to write a preface for it. In the preface itself, Dugu Ji expressed
his emotional ties to the Huangfu brothers as friends and also his
admiration for their literary accomplishments:
185. Both are preserved in the QTS. The fIrst poem, entitled "Chou Huangfu Shiyu
wang Tianqianshan jianshi zhi zuo ffi ilJ 1'1' (Respond-
ing to the poem on visiting Tianqianshan, shown to me by Censor Huangfu)," is
relatively long (QTS246 8: 2764). Since Tianzhufeng (i.e. ,Tianzhushan) is close
toWangongshan and Sikongshan the poem and the poem of Huang-
fu Zeng to which it responded must both have been written during Dugu Ii's
tenure in Shuzhou. As suggested by its title, "Da Huangfu Shiyu beigui liubie
zhi zuo (Response to the poem left by Censor
Huangfu [who is] the sixteenth [child of his family] on the occasion of his
leaving for the North)," the second poem expresses Dugu Ji's regret over the
termination of their intimate association in Shuzhou, which was brought about
by Huangfu Zeng's decision to leave Shuzhou for the north (QTS247 8: 2776).
186. Huangfu Ran wrote the first poem, entitled "Dugu Zhongcheng yan peijian
Weijun fu Shengzhou while attending a party
Dugu Ji held for a friend with the family name Wu who was leaving for
Shengzhou (in present-day Jianglin rI$ district of Jiangsu Province) (QTS249
8: 2795). The second poem, with a title "Fenghe Dugu Zhongcheng you Fahuasi
is a response to Dugu Ii's poem on his visit to the
Fahuasi (QTS250 8: 2823).
' , ' 0

, 0 187
The younger brother of the Honorable Sir (Huangfu Ran) [Huangfu] Zeng, with
a style name Xiaochang, serves as Censor. Together they received instruction in
the ways of writing poems. The Honorable Sir was helpful in teaching and
guiding [Huangfu] Zeng. Later, their brilliant compositions competed with each
other in beauty and they became equally famous [as poets]. Those who shared
literary tastes with them compared them with [the Zhang brothers] Jingyang and
Mengyang. After his mourning period was over, Xiaochang became afraid that
his brother's late works would be forgotten. Since I and Maozheng had succes-
sively served as Remonstrance Official, he, after finishing the compilation of his
brother's late works, commissioned me with the task of composing a preface [for
the collection]. Accordingly, I related his life from beginning to end [in this
preface], which is to be placed at the head of the collection.
Thus, as to Shangusi Zhanran's friends, the following conclusion can be
drawn. With Huangfu Ran as his likely friend, he was certainly closely
befriended by (1) Li Chang, (2) Dugu Ii, and (3) Huangfu Zeng.
Now, we turn to Fuxiansi Zhanran. In addition to his close relation-
ship with Huangfu Ran, as is so convincingly established by the latter's
poem written after his visit to the Fuxiansi, Fuxiansi Zhanran was a
possible friend of Li Chang. The fact that Fuxiansi Zhanran wrote an
inscription for Li Qinshou's daughter, who belonged to the Li family in
Zhaojun, demonstrates that he had a special relationship with the family.
Thus, he was very likely befriended by a member of the family, Li
In conclusion, we can say that Shangusi Zhanran and Fuxiansi Zhan-
ran found cornrnon friends in the Huangfu brothers, Li Chang and, very
likely, Dugu Ii. This suggests that the two Zhanrans might be one and
the same monk, since it would seem highly improbable that more than
two people happened to befriend two monks with the same dharma-
name living so closely in time. The fact that both Zhanrans were follow-
ers of Northern Chan Buddhism also supports the interpretation that they
were in fact one person.
However, after further consideration, I have
187 .. QTW388 4: 3941a8-12.
188. It is perplexing that so little material remains about Shangusi Zhaman and
Fuxiansi Zhaman, two apparently rather significant figures in their time. Given
their importance, the virtually complete absence of any trace of their activities in
Chan sources cannot be explained by the volatile nature of Buddhist records in
China, which would have easily caused the lose of biographical information for
JIABS 22.1 70
to concede that the Zhamans .of the Fuxiansi and of Shangusi were more
likely two separate monks than one person.
First, their occasional different temple affiliations dissuades, if not
prevents, us from identifying these two Zhanrans as one person. As for
Shangusi Zhaman, he began tolive at the Shangusi on Wangongshan in
Shuzhou sometime between 746, when Li Chang arrived at Wangong-
shan, and 762, when he was known in the capacity of the Shangusi
duweina. After being installed at the Shangusi sometime before 762, he
lived, more or less permanently, at the temple until at least 773. On the
other hand, we know that Fuxiansi Zhaman was affiliated, at le,ast for
two periods (we do not know for how long each time), with a renowned
monastery in Luoyang, which was far from the Shangusi. He was first
known as a Fuxiansi priest around 742 and then, sometime around 767,
was referred to as the sizhu of the same monastery, which meant that he
had by that time lived there for a long period.
Although his 742 affiliation with the Fuxiansi does not present a big
problem for his being identified with Shangusi Zhaman,189 his status as
the Fuxiansi sizhu around 767 makes it difficult, if not impossible, to
believe that he was actually Shangusi Zhaman.
However, it is the
some monks. To identify the two Zhanrans might provide a satisfactory
explanation for this. As Linda Penkower suggested to me in her comments on an
earlier draft of this article, "the activities of this monk might have been lost to
history due to his lose of credibility at the end of his life and the eventual rise to
power of a rival faction of Chan, which was successful in wiping this Zhanran
from the record books."
189. Since Shangusi Zhanran did not arrive at the temple until sometime after 746, his
affiliation with the Fuxiansi in 742 does not present major difficulties for
assuming that the monk Zhanran who was later known as Shangusi duweina
was actually coming from Fuxiansi. In that case, we have to explain why he
chose to move from a cosmopolitan, prestigious monastery to a mountain temple.
The most important reason might have been the An Lushan Rebellion, which
broke out in 755.
190. One might propose the following two assumptions to explain the contradiction
1) The title sizhu appearing in Huangfu Ran's poem does not necessarily mean
that Zhanran was the Fuxiansi sizhu. He could be a sizhu of another temple (e.g.,
the Shangusi), who was temporarily residing at the Fuxiansi. In other words, he
merely stopped by the Fuxiansi sometime in 767 before moving to Mount
2) Zhanran had been made the Fuxiansi sizhu before he went to the Shangusi.
The title of sizhu in Huangfu Ran's poem does not mean that he was then still
serving as the Fuxiansi sizhu, merely a reflection of his former position at the
following factor that more seriously undermines the hypothesis that the
Zhanrans of the Shangusi and Fuxiansi were identical.
We know that the monk-calligrapher Zhanran, who was later to be
known as Fuxiansi Zhanran, wrote in 720 an inscription for a memorial
monument erected for Pei Guan. Given the fact that he was then referred
to as sramalJa and that he was chosen to write the inscription for a high-
ranking official like Pei Guan, it was not likely that this Zhanran was
then still younger than thirty. This means that he was born before
Had Fuxiansi Zhanran been Shangusi Zhanran, he would have
been approximately 110 years old when he was summoned in 796 to the
Fuxiansi. In other words, he just went back to the Fuxiansi sometime in 767 as a
visitor of his previous home-temple. Learning of his arrival at the Fuxiansi,
Huangfu Ran, an old friend of Zhanran, then went to meet him there. But
Zhanran left the temple for Mount Song before Huangfu Ran arrived.
I find that both hypotheses are implausible in assuming that Zhanran was not
serving as the Fuxiansi sizhu at the time, which goes against what is implied in
Huangfu Ran's poem. A close reading of Huangfu Ran's poem reveals that not
only was then Zhanran regarded as the Fuxiansi sizhu, he was also expected to
return to the temple to assume his position soon.
Let us tum to the title of Huangfu Ran's poem fIrst. Since sizhu is juxtaposed
with the name of a temple (Fuxiansi) in the title, it is logical to understand that
Zhanran was here regarded as the sizhu of the temple. While both the title and
content of Huangfu Ran's poem suggest that Fuxiansi Zhanran had left the
temple by the time Huangfu Ran arrived there, it is my understanding that neither
Huangfu Ran nor Zhanran's Fuxiansi fellow monks assumed that he was gone
for good. The expression liuke (to detain a guest) in Huangfu Ran's poem
suggests that Fuxiansi Zhanran was then merely making a sojourn at Mount
Song. In other words, he was then temporarily, rather than permanently, absent
from his temple. This is corroborated by the last line of this poem, youyan guilu
feng which means that, on his way home from the Fuxiansi,
Huangfu Ran was still hoping to encounter Zhanran on his way back from his
trip. This is probably to be understood rhetorically, showing the author's desire
to see Zhanran. However, it remains true that Zhanran was then still expected, at
least by his Fuxiansi colleagues and Huangfu Ran himself, to return to his home-
temple in Luoyang. Had Zhanran then not maintained a close tie to the Fuxiansi,
e.g. acting as its sizhu, it would be hard to imagine why he was expected to go
back there after his supposedly short visit at Mount Song. Thus, at least
sometime around 766/7, Zhanran was still living at the Fuxiansi. Furthermore,
his residence at the temple was more or less permanent - a monk would not have
been considered for the abbacy of a temple as important as the Fuxiansi if he had
not been expected to live there permanently.
191. This is corroborated by our analysis of one of Meng Haoran's poems dedicated
to his friend Zhan Fashi, whom I identified as Fuxiansi Zhanran. The poem
suggests that the monk was born before 686 (see note [137]).
JIABS 22.1 72
capital for the national Chan debate. Even in the unlikely event that he
was still been alive in 796, it is hard to imagine that his health would
have allowed him to participate in the debate, which demanded more
energy and attention than a 11O-year-old monk can usually afford. If he
had been there, surely his age would have been remarked upon. All this
makes it extremely unlikely that Shangusi Zhanran was Fuxiansi
Finally, the following point also diminishes the possibility that
Shangusi Zhanran was Fuxiansi Zhanrall. In Section (II), I suggested
that Shangusi Zhanran was an immediate disciple of and
second generation disciple of Puji. Although we do not know Hong-
zheng's dates, we do know those for Puji (651-739) and two other
disciples of Hongzheng (Qiwei [720-81], Changchao [705-63]) as well.
If Shangusi Zhanran could be identified as Fuxiansi Zhanran, who was
born before 686,]92 he would have been at least 34 (!) or 19 years older
than the two monks who were supposed to be his fellow-disciples, and
have been a less than 35 junior of his dharma-grandfather!
In view of this, the Zhanrans of the Fuxiansi and of the Shangusi must
be considered as two different monks, neither of whom can be identified
with Tiantai Zhanran. Therefore, we have to be ready to accept the exis-
tence of three Zhanrans in the eighth century: (i) Shangusi Zhanran (?-
796), (ii) Fuxiansi Zhanran (fl. 720-767) and (iii) Tiantai Zhanran (711-
The existence of three contemporary and homonymous monks makes
us wonder, "If there were three Zhanrans running around with the same
name in the eighth century, then why, as far as we know, did none of
their contemporaries mention this remarkable coincidence?"]93 One pos-
192. Ibid.
193. Not too far in time from the great monk-translator Xuanzang (602-64) there lived
a monk with the same name (from an account in his SGSZ biography that this
minor Xuanzang participated in a vegetarian meal in the court in Jinglong 3
[709] [863c], we know that he flourished around four decades after the death of
his better known homonymous; see CHEN Yuan 1981: 284-85). This Xuanzang
was a native of Jiangling (in present-day Hubei Province). He distinguished
himself by his expertise in the Lotus Satra. According to his SGSZ biography,
with his reputation attracting the imperial attention, he was invited to the capital,
where he stayed for two years. The SGSZ compiler Zanning noted and
commented on the existence of these two eminent monks who not only lived
closely in time but also bore the same dharma-name,

sible explanation for this is that during his lifetime Tiantai Zhanran was
not as famous as Tiantai historiographers would have us believe. Gener-
ally speaking, Tiantai Zhanran was confined to the south-eastern coastal
area. It seems that Zhanran himself had no chance to see his influence
extended to the' north. It is highly questionable that at some points of his
life he became so well known that he attracted attention frorp. the three
Tang emperors, who successively sought his personal presence in the
Furthermore, not only was Shangusi Zhanran inextricably tied to the
Northern Chan tradition, which became a loser in the history of Chinese
Buddhism, but he also ended up with a humiliating defeat in a national
monastic debate. This might have prompted Buddhist (Chan in particu-
lar) historiographers to drive him into oblivion for the purpose of avoid-
ing embarrassment to the monastic order. Mainly known as an accom-
plished calligrapher, Fuxiansi Zhanran probably did not figure so heavi-
ly in the monastic world at his time as his Shangusi dharma-brother.
That might be another reason why their coexistence under the same
, . ,
ill (T2061.50.732c3-6) 0
As for Xuanzang of Jiangling and Dharma-master Trepitaka (Xuan-
zang), with one's body closely followed by the other's shadow, how
far they were separated [in time]? However, they were distinct
persons with the same dharma-name. This is like the case of Lin
Xiangru and Sima Xiangru, one being feared by the strong Qin while
the other admired by Yang Xiong. They each had their own strong
and weak points.
Since the existence of the two Xuanzang still prompted Zanning to make such a
comment more than three centuries after their death, it seems reasonable to
speculate that this must have been a rather remarkable fact for the contemporaries
of the two Xuanzangs.
194. FZTJ, T2035.49.189a6-7. It seems that the only known significant indication of
Zhanran's influence in the elite society was Liang Su's alleged discipleship
under him. However, it must be noted that Liang Su was only twenty-eight years
old when Zhanran died in 782. It seems unlikely that their association lasted for
more than several years. It is also particularly doubtful that Liang Su was already
recognized as a luminary while he was associated with Zhanran. It is not until
780, barely two years before Zhanran's death, that Liang Su passed his jinshi
examination, which marked the beginning of his political career. Although Liang
Su, after getting his jinshi status, served as a jiaoshulang (secreta ire
reviseur de textes) at the Palace Library, which might have furnished him a
relatively easy access to the emperor (XTS202 18: 5774), it is not certain if he
obtained this job before Zhanran' s death.
JIABS 22.1 74
dharma-name became somehow less striking in the eyes of contemporary
and/or later historiographers.
Some Concluding Remarks
In conclusion, I would like to underscore some main points that the
research incorporated in this article has yielded. The main body of this
article is devoted to clarifying the confusion surrounding a Northern
Chan leader who, because he had the same dharma-name as that of the
Tiantai patriarch Zhanran, has been. wrongly identified with him. Evi-
dence from a variety of sources shows that in the eighth century there
lived two Buddhist monks who, despite their shared name, affiliated
themselves with different Buddhist traditions, those of Tiantai and
Northern Chan. Both were remarkable Buddhist priests commanding
considerable influence within their respective schools. In the case of
Tiantai Zhanran, his ascendancy to the status of Tiantai patriarch is
amply demonstrated by Buddhist and especially Tiantai historico-bio-
graphical sources. The Northern Chan leader Zhanran, however, despite
gaining fame during his lifetime, has disappeared into the shadow cast
by his contemporaneous and homonymous Tiantai dharma-brother.
To be specific, this article begins with an inquiry into a series of Chan
campaigns successively launched between 746 and 773, in which the
Chan master Zhanran first participated and then led. This article goes on
to discuss a Chan controversy which, as described in an epitaph dedi-
cated to a Southern Chan master, involved this Southern Chan master
and a dharma-master called Zhanran. After recognizing this Chan con-
troversy to be the famous 796 Chan council reported by Zongmi and
Zhipan, I have identified the Northern Chan master Zhanran based at the
Shangusi with this dharma-master Zhanran participating in the national
Chan council as a, if not the, representative of the Northern Chan tradi-
tion. A comparison of these two Northern Chan masters points to their
identity. With other relevant sources considered, I have re-constructed
the identity of this Northern Chan leader as follows:
The monk Zhanran moved from an unknown location to the Shangusi
temple in Shuzhou sometime between 746 and 762, either driven by the
An Lushan rebellion or invited by Li Chang, who sponsored a pagoda
for Sengcan at Wangongshan and renovated the Shangusi temple on the
same mountain. No later than 762, he had been made the Administrator
(duweina) of the Shangusi and acted as a care-taker of the Wangonshan
pagoda for Sengcan. He stayed at the Shangusi thereafter and became its
supreme leader by 772, when he initiated a new campaign to gain impe-
rial recognition of Sengcan. Supported by three of his fellow-monks and
two powerful local officials, this campaign succeeded in securing a for-
mal title for Sengcan and a name for his Wangongshan pagoda. The
reputation of this Chan master called Zhaman grew significantly follow-
ing this successful Chan campaign, and we find that he attended the 796
national Chan council, taking a stance defending the Northern Chan
tradition. For political and/or religious reasons, he was defeated and was
expelled from the council with his followers. He died soon thereafter.
In addition to re-discovering this remarkable Northern Chan leader, in
this article I collect and study some epitaphic and literary sources estab-
lishing the existence of a Chan master who, though contemporary to and
homonymous with Tiantai Zhaman and the Northern Chan master
Zhanran, cannot be identified as either of them. He was, very likely,
also a Northern Chan adherent and, interestingly, a bitter critic of
Tiantai. He distinguished himself mainly by his impressive calligraphic
skills, for which he was highly praised in some later works. His career as
a monk-calligrapher can be traced back to as early as 720 and continued
until at least 767. What warrants especial attention is the fact that he was
affiliated with such prestigious Luoyang temples as the Xiangshansi in
Longmen and the Da Fuxiansi, the latter being Empress Wu's family
temple. His ties to the Da Fuxiansi Monastery were close and sustained.
He became the abbot of the Fuxiansi prior to 767.
Thus, in the eighth century there lived three monks who bore the same
dharma-name but belonged to different Buddhist schools. While arguing
for the necessity of differentiating these three Zhamans, I believe that
Shangusi Zhaman and Fuxiansi Zhanran may have known each other.
As for their relationship to their contemporary Tiantai homonymous,
nothing certain is known (we even do not know if either of them per-
sonally knew or heard of the Tiantai master or not). 195
Since dharma-names for medieval Chinese monks and nuns were con-
structed from a fairly small pool of vocabulary and often were intended
to communicate the same Buddhist themes, virtues, and so on, it is not
unusual for two Chinese Buddhist monks to share a dharma-name. The
195. It is interesting to note that Tiantai Zhanran shared his hometown (Piling) with
Dugu Ji, who, as a likely friend of Fuxiansi Zhanran, was certainly befriended
by Shangusi Zhanran, and that Dugu Ii and Tiantai Zhanran were both mentors
to Liang Su (while the former nurtured Liang Su's literary talent, the latter took
care of his religious concern).
JIABS 22.1 76
best known example is perhaps the name Huiyuan by which two
monks living in the fourth (334-416) and the sixth century (523-592)
are known. Another well known example is Shenhui t$\t, which was
used by the enthusiastic Southern Chan defender about whom we had
several occasions in this article to mention and a Jingzhongsi
monk who was Zongmi's teacher.
Two less known examples are
Xuanzang, which was discussed toward the end of Section (V) of this
article, and Huaisu Rencently, whereas Bernard FAURE has
argued that two Tang monks went by the same dharma name Zhida
KAMATA Shigeo .E8Iltftt has shown the probable existence of a
Tang monk who shared the name of the Huayan master Chengguan
While it was not so often that two well-known contemporary
monks share a name, it is unparalleled, as far as I know, that three
monks living in a single century made their fame under a single dharma-
name, Zhanran, which has become such a big name in the history of
East Asian Buddhism. According to TANG Yongtong, the Sanlun
predecessor Fadu's (437-500) name was shared by two contempo-
rary monks (TANG 1983: 19). However, Fadu is not comparable to
Tiantai Zhanran in importance. This should alert scholars of Chinese
history in general and Chinese Buddhism in particular to the need to take
care when gathering material on a well-known historical personage. It is
more likely than we expect that a famous monk shared his name with
others, contemporary or not. We must consider the possibility that a
towering figure might block our view of one or even more homonymous
persons of lesser importance.
Furthermore, this article provides a new understanding of a series of
campaigns intended to catapult the previously little-known third Chan
patriarch Sengcan to prominence. Formally carried out in the 740s and
the 770s, these campaigns originated, as Chan scholars have correctly
196. The Jingzongsi temple was situated in present-day Chengdu City of Si-
chuan Province. This Shenhui's (720-94) SGSZ biography is located in 764a-b.
Hu Shi argued that Zongrni actually descended from Jingzongsi Shenhui's
lineage, and that his lineage had no connection whatsoever to the Hezesi
Shenhui. JAN Yun-hua disagreed. It is JAN's opinion that Zongrni's connection
with both Shenhuis are confirmed by historical sources (JAN 1988: 287-304).
197. For two Xuanzangs, see note 193. The name Huaisu was shared by two monks,
one, living from 624 to 697, was a vinaya master (SGSZ biography in 792b-
793a), the other, a famed calligrapher, lived one century later (725-785).
198. FAURE 1986, KAMATA 1992
understood, in the need for a clearer and more solidly constructed
version of Chan lineage, which was, in turn, catalyzed by a deepening
Chan consciousness. A more credible Chan lineage presupposed glorifi-
cation of the more or less "adopted" third patriarch of the Chan tradition
- Sengcan,' about whom even less was known than about the shadowy
Chan "founding" patriarch Bodhidharma. This understanding of that
series of Chan drives is justifiable. However, it is problematic to distin-
guish the 740s campaign from the 770s petition with the assumption that
the former was sponsored by a follower of Shenhui while the latter was
launched as Northern Chan propaganda, with the purpose of belittling
the Southern Chan tradition founded by Huineng.
This article, on the
contrary, shows that both campaigns were in fact conducted by overlap-
ping groups of Chan followers (both cleric and lay) close to or belong-
ing to Northern Chan. We must question whether Shenhui had any role
in the 740s movement. This claim seems to have been invented by the
Southern Chan adept who authored the Eaolin zhuan. The failure on the
part of Chan scholars to recognize the link between these two Chan
drives has prevented them from recognizing that the Northern Chan
master Zhanran who directed the 770s Chan drive had also been in-
volved in the earlier campaign.
Our re-discovery of the Northern Chan master Zhanran has led to the
conclusion that the two substantial Chan campaigns devoted to Sengcan
were, as a matter of fact, closely connected and formed a continuous
project. They must therefore be understood as an important contribution
of a Northern Chan group led by the Northern Chan master Zhanran to
the formation of Chan ideology and its lineage. I wish to propose that
the activities of the Northern Chan leader Zhanran in the 770s be taken
as a significant indicator of the dynamism and influence the Northern
Chan tradition showed in that period. It seems that the Northern Chan
tradition continued to prosper at least until 796, when political interven-
tion brought about the humiliating defeat of the Northern Chan tradition
in a national Chan council and hastened, in all likelihood, the death of
one of its chief defenders.
On the other front, an analysis of an epitaph written for a Southern
Chan master corroborates the historical truth of an important and large-
scale Chan council in 796, the authenticity of which scholars have gen-
erally doubted, mainly due to the polemical context in which Zongmi
199. YANAGIDA 1967: 325.
JIABS 22.1 78
reported it. However, the same epitaph also reveals that Zongmi's
account of thIs Chan council cannot be accepted without reservation.
While it is true that such a Chan council did take place in it did not,
as Zongmi claimed, result in the imperial recognition of Shenhui's status
as the seventh patriarch. This Chan council marked the victory of, in all
likelihood, a Southern Chan tradition represented by Mazu Daoyi, dis-
tinct from and almost certainly in competition with, Shenhui's tradition.
As a final remark, let me observe that this article touches on two
issues, which, despite its potential importance for the study of Chan
Buddhism, lies beyond the main purview of this article and on which my
research to date has not allowed me to elaborate yet. .
The first issue is about the Da Fuxiansi monastery. The rediscovery of
Fuxiansi Zhanran as a Northern Chan master raises the problem of how
to understand and appraise the importance of this monastery as a center
of East Asian Buddhist culture in general and Northern Chan Buddhism
in particular. Probably due to political (its close connection to Empress
Wu and her family) and/or religious (its strong background in Northern
Chan Buddhism) reasons, this once important monastery has been almost
entirely forgotten by historians except for Antonino FORTE, whose
tenacious work on it has directly inspired my own research on Fuxiansi
Zhanran. I hope this study will invite more scholarly attention to the
Fuxiansi Monastery.
The second issue is of much broader significance, involving as it does
problems like the connections the Tang monastic elite held with its lay
counterpart on the one hand and contemporary "prestigious families"
(mingmen wangzu is on the other, the role political intervention
(which might displayed itself as generous patronage or ruthless sup-
pression) played in Tang Buddhist inter/intra-sectarian in-fighting, how
the religious life of Chinese medieval literati-bureaucrats interacted with
their political perspectives, and so on. A full-length discussion of each
of these complex issues might demand a whole volume if not more. I
hope that the research done for this article, with one of its focuses on the
two Zhanrans' connections to their contemporary literati-bureaucrats,
may shed light on some aspects of these thorny but important problems.
Shangusi Zhanran was particularly successful in winning friendship
and patronage from high-ranking officials. His lay supporters included
those remarkable mid-Tang literati-bureaucrats like Li Chang, Fang
Guan, Dugu Ji and Zhang Yanshang, probably also Wang Jin and Yuan
Zai. Despite their difference in personality, social status, and literary and
political "abilities, all of Shangusi Zhanran's sponsors, except for Li
Chang, about whose political stands we know nothing, were staunch
"royalists" in the sense that they resolutely defended the authority of the
central government, which was then seriously corroded by the increasing
independence military prefects rapidly gained" This common political
orientation shared by Shangusi Zhanran's most important sponsors
known to us has fostered the speculation that some political purposes
might have underlaid their enthusiasm for promoting Sengcan as an in-
dispensable link in a broadly accepted Chan lineage. Some Chan scholars
suggest that these royalist Tang officials might have conceived and
helped create a standard and universal Buddhist lineage as an extension
of and supplement to their political idea of a unified country controlled
by a central government with the sovereign sitting at the top of the
power pyramid.
Although we do not know how Shangusi Zhanran
appreciated and responded to their lay sponsors' political aspiration, it is
certain that he, as fully demonstrated in the 770s campaign, skillfully
turned the lay support to the service of his religious purposes. By doing
so, he also unavoidably wedded himself and his religious group to these
lay supporters. In view of this, the disgrace he suffered in the 796 Chan
debate cannot be understood in exclusive religious terms. It must also be
viewed as a result of political intervention. As all of his five chief
supporters had been dead (with two of them, Wang Jin and Yuan Zai,
disgraced before death) by the time, the political support Shangusi
Zhanran could have mustered was considerably limited. On the other
hand, the Chan groups opposed to him, like that represented by Dayi,
were supported by the powerful Crown Prince. Given his importance to
Northern Chan Buddhism, an in-depth study of the political factors
underlying Shangusi Zhanran's humiliating failure as a Chan leader to
the end of the eighth century might be revealing for us to understand the
eventual decline of the Northern Chan tradition.
In comparison with Shangusi Zhanran, Fuxiansi Zhanran appeared
even more active in associating with the contemporary literati; and his
connections with the secular elite society were also more diverse than
that commanded by his Shangusi homonymous. Individually, he was
associated with those bureaucrats/literati like Lu Xun, Jia Sheng, Meng
Haoran, Pei Guan, Zheng Jiong, and Huangfu Ran. However, what
appears particularly striking of this monk is his extensive connections to
200. Du 1993: 197-99.
JIABS 22.1 80
contemporary prestigious clans. His long-term affiliation with and final
promotion to the top of the Fuxiansi monastic hierarchy attest to his
close ties to this great clan which produced the only female sovereign in
the history of China. In addition, it seems that his connections extended
to all of the four most prestigious clans in the Tang society (Zhaojun Li,
Fanyang Lu, Xingyang Zheng and Boling Cui). He also had a close
connection with a sixth prestigious clan - the Pei family in Xima (Xima
Pei Medieval China witnessed quite a few gifted monk-
calligraphers, of whom Fuxiansi Zhanran might not be the most
celebrated one.
However, as far as the epigraphic sources at our
disposal go, he was most widely sought by his contemporary prestigious
clans to execute the calligraphy for their members' epitaphs. When a
prestigious family searched for a calligrapher to handwrite epitaph for
its deceased member, the calligrapher's calligraphic skill was not the
sole consideration. Also to be taken into account were his soCial status
and his ties to the family itself. If a candidate happened to be a monk,
his current status in the monastic hierarchy and his former family
background became important factors. In view of this, I assume that
some factors more than his calligraphic skills might have contributed to
Fuxiansi Zhanran's unusual popularity as an epitaph calligrapher among
several major Tang clans. These factors were very probably his own
illustrious family background and his religious group's peculiar ties to
those prestigious clans. Fuxiansi Zhanran must be viewed as an
outstanding example of the close connection between the monastic and
secular elite in medieval China (some eminent monks themselves came
from prestigious families). In view of this, should we scrutinize the
socio-religious implication of the "adoption" of Huineng into the
Fanyang Lu family more closely against the broad context of the Chan
connection to prestigious clans?
201. The best known, and perhaps also the most accomplished monk-calligrapher is
(A Comparison of the Main Events in the Lives of the Three Zhanrans)

Shangusi Zhanran
(Northern Chan master)

Fuxiansi Zhanran

(5'<::i>* gili)
Guoqingsi Zhanran
(Tiantai Patriarch)
711 ................................................................................................................................................ >- :t.1R'mlli\'
720 ............................................................................ >-
inscription for Pei Guan
724-26 ........................................................................ >-
Visited by Meng Haoran
at Xiangshan
740 ............................................................................ >-
epitaph for Madame Zheng
742 ............................................................................ >-
746 *m-iWljiG:Jli Li Chang's
arrival atMt. Wangong
epitaph for Madame Lu
Birth in Piling
748 ................................................................................................................................................ >- itlUTi.iJIi*
754 ............................................................................ >-
??? ........... >- AIjiG: Jli
entering Mt. Wangong
??? ........... >-
appointed as the
Shangusi duweina
Fang Guan's epitaph for
Sengcan's pagoda
epitaph for the Zhengs
767 ............................................................................ >-
Fuxiansi abbot.
visited by Huangfu Ran
ordained in
768 ................................................................................................................................................. >- 5'<::i>ii1i\'til!
Dugu Ji's arrival in Shuzhou
...... .... >-1
petition for Sengcan's prestige

epitaph for imperial conferral
of a title on Sengcan
................................................................................................................................................. >-
796 ........... >- 1/IJi:ii]]ffit{.
participation in the Chan
council and subsequent death
lectures at Tiantai
death at Tiantai
nABS 22.1 82
Abbreviations Used in Footnotes:
BLZ Baolin zhuan }lUi-' (Transmission of the Baolinsi [the temple of
"Treasure Forest"]). Songzang yizheng version.
BS Beishi :!t51: (History of the Northern Dynasties), 100 juan,
pleted by Li Yanshou in 659. Zhonghua shuju JaJ
edition, Beijing 1974. .
BZ Dainihon bukkyo zensho 7;: B (A complete collection of
the Buddhist texts of the Great Japan). Edited by Takakusu Junijiro
et aI, 100 vols. Tokyo: Yuseido 1913-22; reprinted,
Tokyo: Kodansha 1970-73; ed., Suzuki gakujutsu zaidan
DZ Dengyo Daishi zensha (A complete collection of the
works by Master Dengyo [Saicho]). Edicted by Tendai shuden
kankokai, 5 vols. 1927-28 version. Hieizan: Tosho kankokai.
FZTJ Fozu tongji 1!Ill:tilmfi2 (A generaI record of the Buddha and other
patriarchs),54 juan; compiled by Zhipan (n.d.) between 1258 and
1269. T no. 2035, vol. 49.
GSZ Gaoseng zhuan il1'ii!!lf!f. (Lives of eminent monks), 14 juan, completed
by Huijiao (497-554) ca 530. T no. 2059, vol. 50.
JS lin Shu -g. (History of the Jin, 265-419), 130 juan, completed in
648 under the supervision of Fang Xuanling (578-648),
Zhonghua shuju JaJ edition, Beijing 1975.
JTS liu Tangshu lfm. (Old History of the Tang), 200 juan, completed
in 945 under the direction ofLiu Xu ;?itlllBJ (887946). Zhonghua shuju
JaJ edition, Beijing 1974.
Luo Hanyu da cidian (Great Dictionary of Chinese), edited by
Luo Zufeng ?itt);., 12 vols. Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe J:.
MOROHAsm Dai kanwa jiten (Great Dictionary of Classical Chinese
Explained in Japanese), by Morohashi Tetsuji (1883-1982),
13 vols. Tokyo:Taishukan shoten 1955-60 (reprint, 1966-
QTS Quantang shi (Complete collection of the Tang poems),
900 juan, compiled by Peng Dingqiu and others between
1705 and 1706. Zhonghua shuju JaJ edition, Beijing 1990.
QTW Quantang wen (Complete collection of the Tang Proses),
1,000 juan, compiled by Dong Gao lU!i (1740-1818) and others.
Zhonghua shuju JaJ edition, Beijing 1987.
SGSZ Song gaosengzhuan *il1'ii!!li-' (Lives of eminent monks, compiled in
the Song), 30 juan, completed by Zanning (919-1001) in 988. T
no. 2061, vol. 50.
SKQS (Jingyin) Wenyuange Sikuquanshu Taiwan
Shangwu yinshuguan (1986) version.
SKSLSB Shike shiliao xinbian (New edition of Historical Mate-
rials Carved on stone). Xinwenfeng edition, Tabei 1977.
SUlshu IlI'fW (Book of the Sui, 581-617), 85 juan, compiled by Wei
Zheng (580-643) and others in 636 and 656. Zhonghua shuju $
*WmJ edition, Beijing 1974.
TaishO shinshu daizokyo (A new Buddhist tripi!aka
compiled in the Taisho era), Compiled under the supervision of
Takakusu Junjiro and Watanabe Kaigyoku
Tokyo: TaishO issaikyo kankokai 1924-1932.
100 vols.
XGSZ Xu gaosengzhuan (Lives of eminent monks, continued;
T2060.50.425al-707a27); 30 juan, initially completed by Daoxuan
(596-667) in Zhengguan 19 (645).
Xin Tangshu (New History of the Tang), 225 juan, compiled
by Ou Yangxiu (1007-72), Song Qi (998-1061) and
others in 1043-60, Zhonghua shuju $*WmJ edition, Beijing 1974,
Dai Nihon zokuzokyo * B ;;Js:*lliliJll: (Supplement to the Kyoto Edi-
tion of the Buddhist Canon). Edited by Nakano Tatsue $!!!f
Kyoto: Zokyo shoin 1905-12,150 vols. Reprint, Taibei: Xinwenfeng
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Shandao et Honen, a propos du livre
de Julian F. Pas: Visions of Sukhavatf
Professeur emerite de l'Universite de Saskatchewan, Julian PAS a publie
un livre important, intitule Visions of Sukhavatl, Shan-tao's Commentary
on the Kuan Wu-Liang-Shou-Fo Chingl. II s'agit de la publication,
avec quelques remaniements, de sa these de doctorat soumise en 1973 a
l'Universite McMaster (Ontario), sous Ie titre de Shan-tao's Commentary
on the Amitayur-Buddhiinusmrti-Sutra. L'ouvrage publie se presente
done comme une etude sur l'oeuvre majeure de Shandao (jap.
Zenda, 613-681)2, l'un des plus grands mllitres chinois du bouddhisme
de la Terre Pure, soit son Commentaire (Shu 16ft, jap. Sho)3 sur Ie Sutra
des contemplations de Vie-Infinie precM par le Buddha (Foshuo
Wuliangshou Guanjing Bussetsu Muryoju Kangyo),
ce dernier etant souvent abrege en Guanjing (jap. Kangyo)4. On
1. Albany, State University of New York Press, 1995; 452 pp. Comptes rendus par
Kenneth K. TANAKA: Journal of Chinese Religions 24 (1996): 225-228; et par
Charles B. JONES: Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Internet
2. Par commodite, je restitue les noms propres chinois selon leur transcription
phonetique chinoise moderne; a l'exception toutefois du nom du Buddha Ami-
tuo rendu selon la transcription japonaise Amid3, PAS Ie restituant
toujours en Amita (cf. p. xvi; p. 67, n.7). De meme, je transcris les termes
techniques en japonais.
3. T.37, 1753, p.245c-278c; SSZ 1, p.441-560. Aussi connu sous Ie titre de
Kangyo-shijosho Bskd. 2, p. 201c-203b.
4. T.12, 365, p.340b-346b; SSZ 1, p.48-66. Comme titre du sUtra, on a aussi
Bussetsu Kan Muryoju kyo, ou Bussetsu Kan Muryoju butsu kyo. En l' absence
d'un original sanskrit ou d'une version tibetaine, NANJO et MULLER ont propose
Ie titre sanskrit hypothetique *Buddha-bhilshitilmitilyur-buddha-dhyilna-sutra,
abrege par TAKAKUSU en *Amitilyur-dhyilna-sutra (cf. NAKAMURA, Indian
Buddhism, p.203, 207-208). DEMIEVILLE preferait *Amitilyurbuddhilnusmrti-
sutra, qu'il rendait en Sutra de la contemplation d' Amitayus ou en SUtra de
Ia commemoration du Buddha Amitayus (T. rep. 365; DEMIEVILLE, Yogilcilra-
bhumi, p.353, n. 2, et p. 355, n. 1; I.CI. 2010). LAMOTTE utilisa l'une et
l'autre restitutions (cf. resp. Concentration, p. 170, n. 133; Traite 3, p. xxxvii, et
p. 1361, n. 2). Cf. FUJITA, p. 155, n. 48.
Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
Volume 22 Number 1 1999
JIABS 22.1 94
ne peut que se feliciter d'une telle publication consacree a un sujet encore
si peu traite en langues occidentales, alors meme qu'il remplit une litterature
oceanique en j aponais

Cependant, et ce sera la l'objet des presentes remarques
, l'ouvrage de
PAS est sous-tendu par l'idee que l'oeuvre de Shandao a ete mecomprise
au Japon, singulierement par Shinran et son ecole, Ie J6do-Shinshii:
In medieval Japan, Master Shinran (1172-1262) selected Shan-tao as one of the
Seven Patriarchs of his newly established School of Pure Land Buddhism, liMo
shinshu <True Pure Land School), thus ensuring the Chinese master a pennanent
position in the living tradition of Pure Land devotionalism. (p. ix)
Shinran, however, selected these three [T'an-luan, Tao-ch'o, Shan-'tao] as
patriarchs of the Chinese Pure Land School and after him most scholars followed
his lead. (p. 61; cf p. 58,68)
Even though Shinran acknowledges that Shan-tao was the only one who
understood the real intention of the Buddha, it seems that Shinran himself did
not really understand the intentions of Shan-tao. (p. 323)
1. Shandao, Shinran et Honen
C'est a bon droit que PAS mentionne l'inclusion de Shandao dans la liste
des Sept religieux eminents (Shichi koso sur lesquels Shinran
fonde sa tradition, soit: les lndiens Nagfujuna et Vasubandhu, les Chinois
Tanluan (476-542), Daochuo **,tji: (562-645) et Shandao, ainsi que
les Japonais Genshin (942-1017) et Honen (ou Genkii
1133-1212). Cette liste se retrouve en effet dans les oeuvres de Shinran.
Deux de ses poemes chinois, Ie Shoshin-nembutsu-ge et Ie Nembutsu-
shoshin-ge, consacrent chacun leur seconde partie a rendre hommage a
ces sept maitres. De meme, Shinran composa a leur propos ses Hyrnnes
japonais sur les Religieux eminents (Koso-wasan). Cependant, on ne
voit nulle part que Shandao y re<;:oive un traitement privilegie. Certes, les
deux poemes chinois declarent: Seul Shandao comprit la veritable inten-
5. PAS ne mentionne pas la traduction par INAGAKI de deux ouvrages de Shandao
(v. biblio.). Pour une traduction du Kisambiige poeme ouvrant Ie
Commentaire, v. DUCOR 1983 etSNOW.
6. Vne partie du materiel presente ici avail ete reunie pour un article inedit sur
Honen et la fondation de l'Ecole de la Terre Pure, dont la parution avail ete
annoncee, des 1981, comrne Ie no. 9 de la serie 'Etudes et textes' des Publications
de l'Institut BeIge des Hautes Etudes Bouddhiques (Bruxelles), aujourd'hui
disparu. Je tiens a remercier tres sincerement Diane Lavenex, qui s'etait alors
chargee de la dactylographie du manuscrit.
tion du Buddha?, ce passage etant cite par PAS (p.253); mais cette
declaration ne vise qu'a rappeler comment, aux yeux de Shiman, Shandao
fut Ie seul en son temps, face aux maitres des autres traditions, a degager
Ie veritable sens de l' enseignement de 1a Terre Pure. Ce1a ne signifie pas
pour autant que Shiman accorde un statut special a Shandao dans son
oeuvre propre. IT est vrai que Shandao y occupe une place de premier
plan, mais il n'est pas Ie seu!: Tanluan joue un role au moins aussi
important dans la pensee du fondateur du ShinshU. D'ailleurs, trente-quatre
des hymnes des Koso-wasan sont cons acres a Tanluan, tandis que Shandao
n'en est credite que de vingt-six

Mais il convient surtout de rappeler que Shinran se fondait essentiellement
sur 1'enseignement de son propre maitre Honen. Or, c'est vraiment chez
ce dernier que Shandao joue un role tout a fait exceptionnel, puis que
Honen affirrnait: je me fonde entierement sur Ie seul maitre Shandao
(hen e Zendo isshi Si ron en croit ses propres dires,
Honen etablit meme 1'Ecole de 1a Terre Pure (Jodo-shu au Japon
uniquement pour y rendre son independance a l'enseignement de Shandao:
Bien que les argumentations des diverses ecoles divergent entre elles, d'une
maniere generale, elles ne reconaissent pas que les etres ordinaires (bombu fL
;;fr:) puissent aIler naitre dans la Terre Pure de retribution (hado c' est
pourquoi, en m'appuyant sur les commentaires de Shandao, j'ai etabli cette
ecole (shumon pour montrer que les etres ordinaires vont naitre dans la
Terre Pure de retribution. Cependant, beaucoup de gens me calomnient en
disant: Quel besoin de fonder independamment une ecole pour promouvoir la
naissance dans la Terre Pure par Ie nembutsu? Ne serait-ce pas de l'orgueil?!
Ces gens la n'ont rien compris. Si je n'avais pas fonde independamment une
ecole, comment pourrais-je montrer que les etres ordinaires vont naitre dans la
Terre Pure de retribution?lO
A ce titre, Honen - et non Shinran - fut egalement Ie premier au Japon a
inclure Shandao dans sa liste des cinq patriarches de la Terre Pure (Jodo
goso En realite, la devotion de Honen envers Shandao etait
telle qu'il n'hesitait pas a Ie considerer comme un corps de transformation
7. Respectivement in Kyogyoshinsha, k. 3 (T. 83,2646, p. 600b23; SSZ 2, p.4S),
et lodo-monrui-jusha (T. 83, 2647, p. 64Sc18; SSZ 2, p. 449).
8. T. 83, 2651, p. 661a-662a, 662b-663b; SSZ 2, p. 503-507,508-511
9. Honen, Senchaku-shii (ci-apres SCS), conclusion: T. 83,2608, p.19alO-12;
SSZ 1, p. 990.
10. Genchi, lodo-zuimon-ki: T. 83, 2612, k. 1, p. 241a26-b6; SSZ 4, p. 696.
11. Cf. plus bas, p.14S.
JIABS 22.1 96
du Buddha 'Mida (Mida.keshin Ie Commentaire lui-meme se
voyant qualifie d' expose direct de 'Mida (Mida jiki setsu 5mWf;TIim) 12.
II est done etonnant que PAS ne se soit pas pencM d' avantage sur Ie
role de Shandao dans l' oeuvre de Honen. On doit meme attendre les
pages 253-254 pour voir son nom mentionne pour la premiere fois: PAS y
relate comment la conversion de Honen a la doctrine de Shandao serait
due a sa lecture d'une citation du maitre chinois apparaissant dans la
Somme sur la naissance dans la Terre Pure achevee
par Ie Japonais Genshin en 985. Souvent mentionne, cet episode capital
pour Ie developpement de l'histoire de la Terre Pure au Japon est rarement
documente. PAS lui-meme se contente de renvoyer a une source occidentale
secondaire, Ie Japanese Buddhism de Charles ELIOT (Oxford 1935):il en
cite la traduction de ce passage determinant de Shandao, tout en indiquant
comment, selon Eliot, cette citation proviendrait du quatrieme volume de
son Commentaire. De fait, l'extrait mentionne par Eliot correspond mani-
festement a la fameuse definition par Shandao de l' acte fix ant dans Ie
vrai (shOjo shi go laquelle apparait bien dans Ie quatrieme et
dernier volume du Commentaire
Mais ce passage lui-meme ne se trouve
pas dans la Somme de Genshin, pour cette simple raison que son oeuvre
ne mentionne que Ie premier volume de l' ouvrage de Shandao, Ie Xuanyi-fen
(jap. Gengi-buny4, celui-ci circulant de maniere independante
des trois autres volumes
Ilconvient done de reprendre 1'analyse de la conversion de Honen a
partir des sources originales: c'est cette methode qui permet de rendre
justice a l' oeuvre de Honen dans la diffusion de Ia pensee de Shandao au
12. SCS, conclusion: T. 83,2608, p. 19c29-20al; SSZ 1, p.993. 'Mida est
une abreviation familiere chez Shandao pour Ie nom complet du Buddha Amida

13. Cf. plus bas, p.105.
14. Genshin ne fait que renvoyer a ce ler volume (cf. Genshin: T. 84, 2682, k.3b,
p. 81a16-18; SSZ 1, p. 896-897; Shandao: T.37, 1753, k.l, p. 248b-249b; SSZ
1, p.450-453). Sur un total de 960 citations tin!es de 160 ouvrages, la Somme
de Genshin cite deux autres textes de Shandao: ses Hymnes sur La naissance
dans la Terre Pure (T.47, 1980) et sa Methode de contemplation (id. 1959). Cf.
ANDREWS (1990), passim.
15. En Chine meme, a l'epoque Song contemporaine de Genshin, Ie Commentaire
de Shandao n'etait connu qu'a travers Ie Gengi-bun; cf. plus bas, p. 151-152.
2. Comment Honen decouvrit Shandao
Ordonne tout jeune dans l'Ecole Tendai, Honen y devint successivement
Ie disciple de K6en (?-1169)et d'Eikil (?-1179), ce dernier
residant a Kurodani sur Ie Mont Hiei. Ces deux maitres etant tributaires
de la tradition de Genshin, dite du Eshin (Eshin-ryil _J[.\mt), Honen eut
vraisemblablement l'occasion d'etudier la Somme de ce demier sous leur
direction 16. Cependant, insatisfait dans sa recherche spirituelle, Honen
entreprit de consulter plusieurs maitres importants d' autres traditions,
mais sans plus de succes. Finalement, c'est la mort dans l'ame qu'il
retouma aupres d'Eikil. Puisque les meilleurs maitres de son temps ne
pouvaient lui donner de reponse, c'est dans Ie canon des Ecritures, conser-
vees ala bibliotheque Hoonzo de Kurodani
, qu'il alla la chercher:
Helas! Helas! Pour que1qu'un cornme moi, les trois entramements de la discipline,
de la meditation et de la sagesse ne jouaient plus. J'avais demande a toutes
sortes de sages et d'erudits un enseignement qui s'accorde a mon coeur et une
pratique qui me convienne, en dehors de ces trois entrainements. Mais il n'y eut
personne pour me les enseigner ni me les montrer. Rempli de lamentations,
j' entrai dans la bibliotheque. Plein de tristesse, je me tournai vers les Saintes
Ecritures et les lu de moi-meme, tout seul.
Mais, la encore, Ie resultat fut decevant:
Des Saintes Ecritures introduites au Japonjusqu'aux biographies historiques du
monde seculier, rien n'echappa a mon regard. Pourtant, cornme je reflechissais
ala voie de la liberation, mon corps ni mon coeur n'etaient en paix. C'est
pourquoi, j'exarninai l' Ojo-yoshu d'Eshin [i.e. Genshin].19
En desespoir de cause, Honen se remit ainsi a la lecture de la Somme de
fa naissance dans fa Terre Pure, l'une des sources principales de sa
tradition d' origine sur Ie Mont Hiei, lorsque son attention fut attiree par
sa preface, que voici:
16. Cf. Shunj6, p.131-134; KLEINE 1996b: 79, 82-83; id. 1996a: 32-33,35,75 et
17. Cette bibliotheque encyc10pedique serait provenue de la succession d'un certain
Zen'yii "'*, qui est inconnu (cf. JSZ 7, p. 353a; SHUNJO, p. 186, n.4 en bas de
page). Peut-etre s'agit-il de Zen'yu de Kurodani j\lf/tt.lil (912-990), un
condisciple de Genshin, sur lequel v. ISHIDA, p. 24; DOBBINS 1998, p. 126.
18. In Ry6e: T. 83, 2611, k. 15, p. 237aI7-26; SSZ 4, p. 680. Cf. Shunj6, p. 185-186.
19. Genchi: T. 83,2612, k. 1, p. 240a2-4; SSZ 4, p. 691. Cf. Shi-nikki: T. 83,2674,
k. 2b, p.876b3-6; SSZ 4, p. 158; GIRARD, p.lviii-lix; HARA, p. 12-13. V. aussi
Kakunyo, k. 3, ch. 1; SSZ 3, p. 678.
JIABS 22.1 98
L' enseignement et 1a pratique de 1a naissance dans 1a Terre Bonheur-Supreme
sont les yeux et les jambes de I' age decadent du monde corrompu. Des religieux
et des laics, des nobles et des humbles, qui ne les suivrait? Seu1ement, sa
litterature dans 1es Ecritures exoterique et esoteriques n' est pas mince
De sa
pratique, les causes karmiques, tant dans les principes que dans les faits, sont
multiples a considerer. Pour un homme dilligent a l'intelligence aigue, cela
n'est pas difficile. Mais pour quelqu'un d'aussi stupide que moi, comment s'y
aventurer? C'est pourquoi, m'appuyant sur la seule doctrine du nembutsu
(nembutsu ichimon j'ai tente d'en recuei1lir les passages essentiels
dans les sutras et les traites. En les lisant et en les mettant en pratique, la
comprehension sera aisee et la pratique facilitee.
Pour Honen, c'est une premiere decouverte, comme ill'expliquera lui-
D'une maniere generale, une preface relate l'essentiel de tout un ouvrage : a
juger de sa preface, cette Somme expose Ie fait de s'appuyer exclusivement sur
Ie nembutsu.
Or, si la Somme de Genshin fait bien l'apologie du nembutsu, Honen dut
etre de<;u par sa lecture. Car lorsque Genshin entreprend d' en exposer la
methode, il livre toutes sortes de nembutsu (shuju nembutsu
sous fonne de contemplations, dont certaines extremement elaborees,
dans la plus pure tradition du Tendai
Etait-ce donc la les yeux et les
jambes de l'age decadent du monde corrompu evoques par la preface?
Pour ceux qui seraient incapables de pratiquer Ie nembutsu contemplatif
(kannen Genshin expose bien un nembutsu jaculatoire (shonen m
mais sans trop s'y attarder et sans meme citer aucune rHerence

20. Dans son Amida-butsu setsurin Keij5 WlAA (?-1774) relevera
plus de 180 titres de sutra pour une vingtaine de sastra. Cf. EOB, 1-3, p. 425b-429a;
Mbdj. 1, p. 73b-75a.
21. Genshin, Ojo-yoshii : T.84, 2682, k la, p.33a6-1O; SSZ 1, p.729. ANDREWS
(1973), p. 44.
22. Genchi: T. 83,2612, k. 1, p. 240a4-11; SSZ 4, p. 691.
23. Genchi, ibid. : T. 83, p. 240a25; SSZ 4, p. 692.
24. L' Ojo-yoshii, ch. 4, expose successivement: 1. la contemplation detaillee (besso-
kan }JlJtU), qui n'implique pas moins de 1.344 contemplations distinctes! 2.
la contemplation generale (soso-kan phenomenale et noumenale, cette
derniere se dedoublant en fonction des trois corps du Buddha et de la triple
verite du Tendai; 3. les contemplations simplifiees et secondaires (zoryaku-kan
soit trois methodes de contemplation sur l'iin:za du Buddha, la troisieme
etant extremement simplifiee (gokuryaku (T. 84, 2682, k. 2a, p. 53a-56b;
SSZ 1, p, 798-811); ANDREWS op.cit., p. 56-64.
25. T.84, 2682, k. 2a, p.56b3-5; SSZ 1, p,809. Cf. ANDREWS, op.cit., p.64-66.
Bref, Honen ne se trouvait guere plus avance, lorqu'il tomba en arret sur
un brefpassage du dixieme et demier chapitre de la Somme de Genshin
dans lequel celui-ci cite un extrait abrege des Hymnes sur la naissance
dans la Terre Pure de Shandao
Voici ce passage, communement intitule
De la pratique exclusive et des pratiques melangees (Senju-zogyo-mon

Le venerable Shandao dit: Si vous pouvez pratiquer [Ie nembutsu de maniere
exclusive] comme [decrit] ci-dessus, continuellement et a chaque instantjusqu'a
la fin de votre vie, vous irez naitre dans la Terre Pure a dix sur dix, ou a cent sur
cent (hyaku soku hyaku sho sElps1::). Mais si vous desirez abandonner cette
pratique exclusive et cultiver les actes melanges, a peine un ou deux sur cent
iront y naitre, ou a peine trois ou cinq sur mille.
Pour un religieux aussi desoriente que Honen apres tant d' annees de
recherches, une declaration aussi categorique avait de quoi exciter sa
curiosite. A elies seuIes, ces quelques Iignes de Shandao tirees d'un
ouvrage aussi volumineux que la Somme de Genshin allaient bouleverser
Ia vie de Honen, lequel devait declarer plus tard:
Lorsque Eshin [i.e. Genshin] definit par Ie raisonnement si l' on va naitre ou non
dans la Terre Pure, il eut Ie passage De la pratique exclusive et des pratiques
melangees du venerable Shandao pour boussole. En outre, un peu partout, il
utilise plusieurs fois les commentaires de ce maitre, comme on peut Ie voir.
Ainsi, celui qui utilise Eshin doit necessairement suivre Shandao.
De fait, Honen va entreprendre d' etudier directement les oeuvres du grand
maitre chinois et des autres representants du courant qui porte son nom
(Zendo-ryii"!tf-i!fim), parmi lesqueis Daochuo, Ie propre maitre de Shandao:
C'est seu1ement l'idee de naitre a cent sur cent dans la Terre Pure (hyaku
soku hyaku sho gishu qui m'a guide aux commentaires de
Daochuo et de Shandao, lesquels ne sont pas detailles [par Genshin]. [ ... ] Ainsi,
Genshin y reviendra dans ses explications sur Ie nembutsu a I' article de la mort
(ch. 10 : T. 84, 2682, k.3b, p.83a-85a; SSZ 1, p. 903-910); cf. GIRA 1979;
ANDREWS, ibid., p. 96-101; id. 1991, p. 75b-77a.
26. T.84, 2682, k. 3b, p. 81bll-14; SSZ 1, p. 897-898. Dans ce passage, Genshin
repond a Ia question de savoir pourquoi si peu de ses contemporains obtiennent
Ia naissance dans la Terre Pure; cf. ANDREWS 1973, p. 95.
27. T. 47, 1980, p.439b17-18, 19-21; SSZ 1, p. 652; cite in SCS, ch. 2. V. aussi 1es
commentaires de Honen cites in Shinran, SaihO-shinan-shO: T. 83,2674, k. 1b,
p. 865c11-866a21; k. 3a, p. 885a14-b2; SSZ 4, p.124-125, 185-186.
28. Honen, Considerations abregees sur l'Ojo-yoshii (Ojo-yosha ryaku-ryoken "*
){SHil'i); in Ryoe: SSZ 4, p.409 (cf. T. 83,2611, k. 6, p. 136a20-25, 138a4-6; SSZ
4, p. 405, 416, 425).
JIABS 22.1 100
l'Oji5-yi5shu fut mon premier guide pour entrer dans la doctrine de la Terre Pure
(Ji5do-mon mais en examinant Ie sens profond de son principe (shU
*), je pris 1es comrnentaires du venerable Shandao.
On ne sait comment Honen se procura ces manuscrits peu repandus, qui
ne figuraient apparernrnent pas dans la bibliotheque de Kurodani, puisqu'il
ne les avait pas etudies plus t6t. D'ailleurs, si Genshin fut le premier a
citer au J apon les oeuvres de Shandao dans un ouvrage doctrinal comme
sa Somme, Ie Mont Hiei ne semble pas avoir particulierement servi de
conservatoire pour ces textes. En fait, il n' est pas exclu que Honen ait dii
alier les chercher jusqu'a Nara. Car, c'est dans ce fief des ecoles anciennes
du bouddhisme japonais que les sources de la tradition de Shandao 'etaient
principalement preservees, notarnment par l'eco\e Sanron, alars hebergee
au Todaiji. Des copies des oeuvres du maitre chinois, dont son
Commentaire, y sont ainsi attestees des Ie milieu du VIlle siecle
outre, un catalogue de 1094 mentionne aussi Ie Commentaire de Shandao
parmi les ouvrages de la bibliotheque du Totoin du Todaiji
plus, sa farneuse defintion de" l' acte fixant dans Ie vrai apparait pour la
premiere fois au J apon dans l' Ojo-juin jzg, acheve en 1103 par
Yokan lkU (ou Eikan, 1032-1111)32, ainsi que dans Ie KetsujO-ojo-shu
compose en 1139 par Chinkai (1091-1152)3\ ces deux
maitres de l' ecole Sanron etant, eux aussi, lies au Todaiji. Par ailleurs,
Kakuyu jf;ffl9r (Gyokan frU, 1241-1325), religieux de la branche Seizan
du Jodo-shu, rapporte que Honen aurait trouve Ie Commentaire de Shandao
a la BibliotMque d'Uji soit au fameux Byodoin
situe sur la route de Nara
Bien que relativement tardive, cette these ne
manque pas de vraisemblance. C' est en effet au Byodoin que fut compile,
29. Genchi : T. 83, 2612, k. 1, p.240b2-7; SSZ 4, p. 692. L'unique reference de la
Somme de Genshin au Commentaire de Shandao n'apparait que quelques lignes
avant la citation du passage De la pratique exclusive et des pratiques melangees
(cf. plus haut, n. 14).
30. Cf. OTANI, p. 357-358, et plus bas, p. 152.
31. T. 55,2183, p. 1151a3-4.
32. Des auteurs japonais ont suppose que Honen avait decouvert cette definition de
Shandao it travers l'ouvrage de Yokan (v. KLEINE, 1996a: 77-78, 88; id., 1996b:
86; cf. SHIGEMATSU, p. 296-298). Cependant, l' Qji5-juin ne la cite qu'en abrege
(T. 84,2683, p.100c25-28), et l'on n'en trouve aucune mention dans les textes
rapportant la conversion de Honen.
33. T. 84, 2684, p. 11Ob23-c4.
34. Kakuyu, Senchaku-shu hishO fJttJ> (JSZ 8, p. 340b). Cf. KLEINE 1996a: 78.
vers 1070, l'Annyo-sha * ~ * ; ouvrage important qui cite d'abondance
Ie Commentaire, attestant ainsi de Ia presence de celui-ci dans ce temple

Preuve, enfin, de la difficulte de la tache de Honen, celui -ci ne parviendra
jamais a retrouver l'un des textes de Shandao, les Hymnes sur Ie pratyut-
panna .
Quoi qu'il en soit, Honen n'etait pas au bout de ses peines.Car ce ne
sont pas moins de trois lectures du Commentaire de Shandao qui lui
seront necessaires avant de parvenir au but. Meme apres une deuxieme
lecture, il reste encore sur l'impression que la naissance dans Ia Terre
Pure n' est pas si facile. Et c' est finalement a la troisieme lecture qu' il
eprouve une veritable revelation lorsqu'il comprend que
les etres ordinaires aux pensees desordonnees pouront certainement naitre dans
la Terre Pure en se fondant sur la pratique de la prononciation du nom (shomyo
m . ~ ) [d' Amida].37
De cette ultime decouverte, qui eut lieu en 1175 si l'on en croit certains
de ses biographes
, Honen ecrira plus tard a Ia:fin de son oeuvre principale,
Ie Senchaku-shii :
En toute serenite, ce Commentaire du Siitra des contemplations de Shandao est
la boussole pour rOuest [i.e. la Terre Pure d' Amida], les yeux et les jambes du
pratiquant. [ ... ] Lorsque, pauvre religieux, j' ouvris autrefois ce livre canonique
et que j'en compris Ie sens general, j'abandonnai sur Ie champ toutes Ies autres
pratiques pour suivre Ie nembutsu.
35. Mbdj. 8, p. 12b-13a; OTANI, p. 363-366; ISHIDA, p. 27-29. A ne pas confondre
avec l' Annyo-sho # : T. 84,2686 (Bskd. 1, p. 80ad; Mbdj. 9, p. 13c-15a; ISHIDA,
36. T.47, 1981. L'exemplaire rapporte de Chine par Engyo (T. 55, 2164, p. 1073a27)
ne sera decouvert qu'en 1217, au Ninnaji de Kyoto (Mbdj. 5, p. 4250c).
37. Genchi, loc.cit.; Shunjo, p.183-184; Kakunyo, k. 3, ch. 1 (SSZ 3, p. 678); KLEINE
1996a: 86, n. 149. SeIon Ie Shi-nikki, c' est l' Ojo-yosha que Honen aurait reIu
trois fois, ce qui me semble une confusion (cf. T. 83, 2674, p. 876b3-8; SSZ 4,
p. 158); cf. HARA, p. 12-13; GIRARD, p.lix, dont la traduction fait ici probleme.
38. Shi-nikki: T.83, 2674, p.877a13-14 (SSZ 4, p. 161); Shunjo, p. 184; KLEINE
1996a, p. 41; HIROKAWA, p. 9-12.
39. T. 83, 2608, p. 19c25-26; SSZ 1, p. 993. Shunjo, p. 347.
JIABS 22.1 102
3. Honen et l' enseignement de Shimdao
11 convient maintenant d' examiner Ie contenu de la decouverte de Honen,
a travers sa lecture du Commentaire de Shandao. Celui-ci n' etait pas Ie
premier du genre mais il tranche sans conteste avec tous les autres
commentaires chinois consacres au Satra des contemplations
derniers ont en effet pour denominateur commun de classer la Terre' Pure
d' Arnida soit comme une terre de transformation (kedo 1 ~ ) accessible
meme aux etres ordinaires, soit comme une terre de retribution (hodo ~
) reservee aux seuls bodhisattva evolues
Or, l' analyse de l' oeuvre
de Shandao permet a Honen d'en retenir les trois points fondamentaux
a) la naissance dans la Terre Pure d' Amida est une realisation d' ordre
superieure, parce qu'il s'agit bien d'une terre de retribution (hO ~ ) et
non de transformation (ke 1 ~ ) ;
b) les etres ordinaires (bombu JL::k) peuvent cependant y aller naitre,
meme apres la disparition du Buddha Sakyamuni;
c) a cette fin, il faut donc un moyen qui, pour etre efficace, doit reunir
deux qualites apparemment contradictoires: l' excellence (shO JlJ) et la
facilite (i ~ ) . La solution, selon Honen, reside dans la seule pratique du
nembutsu jaculatoire, soit la prononciation du nom (shOmyo WI-:15) du
Buddha Amida, facile a pratiquer et excellente en vertu des qualites de ce
Buddha syntbetisees par son nom selon son voeu originel

Les deux premiers de ces trois points sont des apports manifestes et
bien connus du Commentaire de Shandao
\ que PAS ne manque pas de
relever (p. 154-157, 283-306). Par contre, ce dernier refuse categoriquement
d' admettre que l' on puisse trouver dans l' oeuvre de Shandao une justifica-
tion a la pratique exclusive du nembutsu jaculatoire, comme Ie soutiennent
les auteurs Shinshfi qu'il cite, notarnment FUJIMOTO Ryi.ikyo44, lKEMOTO
40. Surles autres corrunentaires du sutra, v. YAMADA, p. 146-147; PAS, p. 116-120;
TANAKA, p. xvii-xxii; FUJIWARA, p. 100-101.
41. PAS, p.150-154; DUCOR, Amidakyo, p. 28 et n. 32.
42. Honen, SCS, ch. 3: T. 83, 2608, p. 5b26-c26; SSZ 1, p. 943-944.
43. Sur Ie premier point, v. T.37, 1753, k. 1, p. 250bU-27; SSZ 1, p.457-459. Sur
Ie deuxieme, v. notamment T. 37, 1753, k.1, p.249a29-b8; SSZ 1, p.453. V.
aussi TANAKA, p. 106.
44. Bien que cite par PAS (p. 254, n. 10 et 11), l'ouvrage de FUJIMOTO ne figure pas
dans sa bibliographie. n s'agit en fait deAn Outline oj the Triple Satra oj Shin
Buddhism, v. II : The Sutra of Meditation on the Eternal Buddha; Kyoto,
Hyakka-en Press, 1960.
Jilshin, FUJIWARA Ryosetsu, YAMADA Meiji et Alfred BLOOM, tout en
Western authors, however, misrepresent Shan-tao because they follow the lead
of Japanese JOdo Shinshu masters who deemphasized meditative practices. (4e
de couverture)
In almost all Western-language publications [ ... ] the influence. of the Jodo
Shinshu interpretation of the Chinese master's view is unmistakable. (p. xi)
If, in the view of some interpreters, his [Shan-tao's] basic teaching consists
of a defense of the oral invocation of Amita's name, this is doubtless an over-
simplification of Shan-tao's true purpose. [ ... ] The practice of oral invocation of
Amita's name does not seem to occupy a place of eminence in his teaching [ ... ].
(p. xiii)
In the Japanese JOdo Shinshu, oral invocation became the essential practice,
and the authority on which the patriarchs (especially Honen and Shinran) based
their view was said to be Shan-tao [ ... ]. (p. 266)
Sans doute aurait-il faUu verifier dans les textes de Shinran lui-meme.
Mais on se permettra de s'en dispenser ici, puisque - faut-ille repeter? -
c'est tout d'abord a Honen que revient Ie merite de cette interpretation.
II n'est pas inutile de rappeler que Honen lui-meme fut attaque par ses
contemporains a propos de sa lecture de Shandao. Apres sa decouverte
dans les Ecritures, il eut deja a affronter de violentes altercations avec
son maitre Eikii, lequel n'hesita pas a manier Ie balais contre Honen ou a
luijeter un oreiller de bois ala tete!45 Finalement, Honen quittera Kurodani
sur Ie Mont Hiei pour s'installer aux abords immediats de Kyot0

Par la suite, les premieres manifestations d'hostilite des ecoles etablies
apparurent dans la petition adressee en 1204 par les moines du Hiei a leur
abbe Shinsh6 (1167-1230). Son contenu nous est connu par la lettre
de defense adressee au meme Shinsho par Kujo Kanezane
(1149-1207), Ie protecteur de Honen. Or, parmi les trois points litigieux
releves par la petition, Ie troisieme concerne precisement la pratique
unique et exclusive (ikko-senju - du nembutsu, que Kanezane
defend en se reclamant de Shanda0
La petition adressee au trone l'annee
suivante par les moines du Kofukuji de Nara reproche egalement aHonen,
dans Ie 6e et Ie 7e de ses neuf points, sa defense exclusive de la doctrine
de la Terre Pure ainsi que son interpretation du nembutsu jaculatoire
45. Shunjo, p. 184-185, 265-266; Kakunyo, k. 3, ch. 2: SSZ 3, p. 679-680.
46. Shunjo, p. 185; KLEINE 1996a: 42, 142-143.
47. In Kakunyo, k. 5, ch. 8: SSZ 3, p. 720-721; Shunjo, p. 554, n.4.
JIABS 22.1 104
fondee sur son analyse de Shanda0
Quelques mois apres Ia mort de
Honen, en 1212, Ie fameux Myoe (1173-1232), de l'ecole Kegon,
composa Ie Zaijarin tllE$ifmj, volumineuse refutation du Senchaku-shu de
Honen, augmentee l'annee suivante d'un supplement, Ie ttM
lie.: ces deux ouvrages ne manqueront pas de reprendre, eux aussi, les
memes critiques

Certains auteurs occidentaux ne seront pas plus tendres avec Honen.
Ainsi de Leon WIEGER, qui n'hesitait pas a ecrire, non sans aplomb:
[ ... ] a mon avis tres motive, Honen cite Zenda a faux pour son opinion. Je
n'accuse pas cet homme, qui apparait avoir ete peu intelligent mais sincere,
d'avoir abuse sciemment de l'autorite de Zenda [ ... ] Honen ne savait probablement
pas assez bien Ie chinois [ ... ]. Cet homme fut un zele, c'est sur, mais ce fut un
minimiste, race nefaste. En debarrassant Ie nembutsu des accessoires ascetiques
qui Ie renforyaient, il 1'enerva et en fit un acte machinal sans portee. Ses
adversaires eurent raison, je pense, de l' accuser d' avoir enleve a l' Arnidisme ce
qu'il avait de meilleur [ ... ].
Henri DE LUBAC nuancera Ie jugement severe de son confrere mais pour
poser, lui aussi, cette question:
Honen a-t-il correctement interprete Chan-t'ao? [ ... ] n est bien possible que
Honen ait fait, en lisant certains textes, un contresens [ ... ].50
4. Nembutsu contemplatif ou nembutsujaculatoire ?
Mais venons en a l'examen de la doctrine de Shandao lui-meme pour
voir si, oui ou non, l'interpretation de Honen peut s'en rec1amer a bon.
droit. La source principale de cette argumentation se trouve dans la
definition des pratiques que Shandao livre dans son Commentaire
maItre Ghinois commence par y diviser les pratiques bouddbiques en
deux grandes La premiere est celle des pratiques principales
(shOgyo lEfT), qui regroupent les pratiques se fondant exc1usivement
(sen W) sur les sutra de la naissance dans la Terre Pure (oj a-kyo
La seconde grande categorie est celle des pratiques secondaires (zogyo
48. Dnbz. 61, p. 14a-15a. Cf. MORRELL (1983), p. 6-38; id. (1987), p. 66-88; KLEINE
1996a: 222-251.
49. Publies in Nihon Daizokyo, 74; v. aussi Kamata Shigeo, TANAKA Hisao:
Kamakura kyu-bukkyo (Nstk. 15), notarnment, p. 326b-330a. Cf. Banda: Myoe's
Criticism (v. biblio.); GIRARD, p. 88-89.
50. Wieger, Amidisme chinois et japonais, p. 36 et 49; DE LUBAC, p. 170, et p. 172,
51. T.37, 1753, k.4, p. 272a29-blO; SSZ 1, p. 537-538; cite in SCS, ch. 2.
qui regroupent toutes les autres bonnes actions (zen ff): n' etant
pas pratiquees de maniere exclusive, elles peuvent encore etre considerees
comme des pratiques melangees, autre signification du mot zogyo H
:ff. Au sein de 1a premiere categorie, Shandao enumere les cinq pratiques
principales suivantes: (i) reciter les sUtra consacres ala naissance dans 1a
Terre Pure du Buddha Amida, (ii) concevoir, contemp1er et se souvenir
des ornements de sa Terre Pure, (iii) venerer ce seu1 Buddha, (iv) celebrer
vocalement (ku shO pm) ce seu1 Buddha et (v) Ie louer en faisant des
offrandes. Ces cinq pratiques ont en commun de devoir etre accomplies
d'un seul coeur et exclusivement (isshin sen -JL'W). Mais parmi ces
cinq pratiques principales, Shandao distingue encore deux categories. La
premiere est celIe du fameux acte fixant dans Ie vrai (shojo shi go 1E
JE2*), soit l'acte qui fait entrer dans Ie groupe des fixes dans Ie vrai
(shojo-ju ce dernier designant cette categorie d'etres qui sont
definitivement assures d'atteindre l'eveil en allant naltre dans la Terre
Shandao definit cet acte ainsi:
d'un coeur unique, cornmemorer (nen exclusivement Ie nom de 'Mida
(Mida myogo marchant, debout, assis ou couche, sans question de
longueur ni de brievete de temps, a chaque instant et sans I'abandonner, cela est
appele acfe fixant dans Ie vrai, parce qu'il suit Ie voeu de ce Buddha (jun hi
butsu gan ko !lliHJtfiJllJjlitc).
La seconde categorie, enfin, reunit les quatre autres pratiques principales
sous Ie terme d' actes auxiliaires (jogo !liJ*), qui, selon Shandao,
comprennent donc la veneration, 1a recitation, etc.
Du texte de Shandao, Honen tire la conclusion suivante:
Parmi les cinq sortes [de pratiques principaIes], c'est la quatrieme, la prononciation
du nom (shOmyo flll.:i5), qui est l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai.
Cette deduction est capitale. C'est bien Honen - et non Shinran - qui fut
Ie premier a l'etablir explicitement, et c'est elle qui est au coeur de notre
De prime abord, la logique interne du texte de Shandao semble donner
raison a Honen: si l' acte fixant dans Ie vrai consiste a commemorer Ie
nom du Buddha Amida, objet vocal s'il en est, cela ne peut correspondre
qu'a la quatrieme des cinq pratiques principales, celIe recommandant de
celebrer vocalement Ie meme Buddha. La chose est tellement evidente
que meme un adversaire de Honen aussi acharne que Myoe l' admet
52. Cf. DucoR, Amidakyo, p. 30.
53. SCS, ch. 2 : T. 83, p. 3a21-22; SSZ 1, p. 935.
JIABS 22.1 106
tacitement dans son Zaijarin, OU il evite soigneusement de repondre
directement lorsque son interlocuteur lui oppose ce fameux passage de la
definition des pratiques
Neanmoins, la lettre du texte de Shandao n'est pas sans presenter une
ambigui:te. Car sa definition de l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai ne reprend pas
litteralement les deux caracteres chinois de l' expression celebrer
vocalement (ku sho P Wl), pourtant employes dans sa formulation de la
quatrieme des cinq pratiques principales. A leur place, i1 utilise Ie seul
caractere que j'ai rendu par Ie terme general de commemoreD>.
Or, il est un fait que ce caractere nen est amphibologique et peut, donc
porter a interpretation. Selon I' etymologie classique, il signifie actuation
4- du coeur it;,, avoir present 4- a l' esprit it\, et, donc, penser a,
se souvenir de; mais dans un sens derive, il signifiera reciter (par
coeur)>>, lire, prononcer, etc
. Cette ambivalence se retrouve ainsi
dans l'expression nembutsu traduisant Ie sanskrit buddhiinusmrti,
et qui se compose du meme caractere nen, combine avec Ie caractere
butsu, signifiant buddha. De sorte que Ie mot nembutsu (<<buddhamnese)
peut designer aussi bien la commemoration mentale, la contemplation, du
Buddha, que sa commemoration vocale par la prononciation de son nom.
Afin de bien distinguer ces deux valeurs du caractere nen, Ie vocabulaire
bouddhique propose, comme on l'a vu chez Genshin (plus haut, p.98),
les deux composes suivants: kannen qui designe la commemoration
contemplative, la meditation sur la figure du Buddha; tandis que shonen
rend la commemoration jaculatoire, soit la prononciation de son
nom. Quoi qu'il en soit, Ie texte de Shandao ne tranche pas entre ces
deux significations. Et cette ambigui:te, surtout dans un passage aussi
importan!, ne doit pas etre mise sur Ie compte d'une eventuelle negligence
de sa part: son Commentaire est soigne, et ses mots bien peses, au point
qu'il dira de son propre texte: Pas une seule phrase, pas un seul mot ne
doit y etre ajoute ou retranche!56
Par consequent, il parait, a priori, legitime que les adversaires de
1'interpretationjaculatoire du nembutsu puis sent s'appuyer sur cette meme
54. Zaijarin, k. 1: Nstk. 15, p. 326b20-328a.
55. V. les references in DUCOR, Amidakyo, p.79-80; on y ajoutera: Mdkj. 4-10390.
En chinois bouddbique, nen peut aussi rendre le sanskrit unite temporelle
minuscule (cf. LAMOTTE, Traite 2, p. 921, n. 1).
56. T. 37, 1753, k. 4, p. 278c25-26; SSZ 1, p. 560.
definition par Shandao de l' acte fixant dans Ie vrai. V oici la traduction
que PAS donne ainsi de ce passage - et c' est moi qui souligne:
with singleminded attention be attentive (nien ~ ) of the name of Arnita. Whether
walking or s,tanding, sitting or lying, without consideration of the length of
time, at each single instant not let it go, this is called the right and determining
action. (p. 271)
Pour prouver a quel point Ie Jodo-Shinshu aurait, selon lui, distordu la
pensee de Shandao, PAS enchalne aussitot en comparant sa traduction
avec celle fournie par deux ouvrages du regrette YAMAMOTO Kosho

L'argumentation, de prime abord, parait probante: Ie texte de YAMAMOTO
ne s'apparente en effet qu'indirectement a ceIui de Shandao. Mais, en
fait, il n'est meme pas besoin de Ie citer icio Car cette traduction de
YAMAMOTO ne pretend aucunement rendre Ie texte de Shandao sur la
definition de l' acte fix ant dans Ie vrai; par contre, Ie lecteur averti y
reconnaitra aussitot la traduction d'un tout autre texte, Ie celebre Passage
de la triple selection (Sansen-mon - = ~ J t ) , tire de l' oeuvre principale
de Honen, Ie Senchaku-shu, ainsi que Yamamoto Ie mentionne expresse-
On ne manque donc pas de s'etonner de la desinvolture avec
laquelle PAS a choisi son exemple, en un point aussi crucial de sa demonstra-
Cependant, PAS appuie son argumentation en faisant remarquer que la
definition de l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai cite (<<quotes) Ie Sutra d'Amida,
lequel does not express oral recitation (lac. cit.). En realite, nous l'avons
vu, la definition de Shandao ne fait aucune mention explicite de ce sutra,
ni d'aucune autre autorite scripturaire. Par contre, elle fait effectivement
echo a un passage du Satra d'Amida utilise par Shandao dans son
argumentation sur la foi, juste avant de presenter sa defmition des pratiques.
Mais, si cette reference semble bien se rapporter aux paragraphes 9-15 et
17 de ce sutra, celui-ci ignore completement la terminologie employee
par Shandao, qui, en realite, ne fait que Ie paraphraser59. En effet, l'extrait
apparaissant dans Ie Commentaire declare que Sakyamuni et Ies buddha
57. Les references de PAS (p. 271, n. 86) ne sont pas claires, et la premiere des deux
ne figure pas dans sa bibliographie. n s'agit de The Shinsha Seiten, p. 167; etAn
Introduction to Shin Buddhism, p. 191.
58. SCS, conclusion: T. 83, 2608, p.18c29-19a5; SSZ 1, p. 990; cf. plus bas, p. 147-
148. Le texte ou Shandao definit l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai se trouve bien dans Ie
Shinsha Seiten de YAMAMOTO, mais it la page 151.
59. T.37, 1753, k.4, po 272aI7, 20, 26; SSZ 1, p.537. Cf. DucoR, Amidakyo,
po 78-79,84 ss.
nABS 22.1 108
des dix directions encouragent Ia commemoration exclusive du nom de
'Mida avec un coeur unique (isshin sennen Mida myogo
cette formulation correspond litteralement a celie de Ia definition
de l' acte fixant dans Ie vrai. Par contre, Ie texte original du siitra ( 9) fait
dire a Sakyamuni que Ies etres doivent garder Ie nom (shiiji myogo
d' Amida. PAS y voit une meditation on the name with undivided
attention and mental concentration (p.212), encore que I'expression
corresponde plus simplement a 1'acte mental de memoriser Ie nom
Ia meme expression garder Ie nom etaitdeja interpretee plus haut dans
Ie Commentaire de Shandao comme signifiant <<prononcer Ie nom du
Buddha (sM butsu shi myo Cette interpretation: n'est
d'ailleurs pas isolee: elle se retrouve dans ses Hymnes de liturgie
, et sa
reelle originalite n'echappera pas a ses contemporains, a 1'exemple de
Zhisheng tli' (jap. ChisM, 668-740), qui l' adopte dans son oeuvre

Nous voyons donc, d'une part, que Ia paraphrase du Satra d'Amida par
Shandao n'est pas si eloignee du nembutsu jaculatoire et, d'autre part,
qu'elle vise a harmoniser Ie texte des Ecritures avec sa propre definition
de l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai. II n'en reste pas moins qu'identifier
formellement Ia garde du nom avec sa prononciation constitue
certainement un pas audacieux, que Shandao n'hesite pas a franchir,
quitte a forcer Ia Iettre d'un siitra pour imposer sa propre interpretation.
5. Le nembutsu et Ie voeu originel d'Amida
Cependant, l'interpretation jaculatoire du nembutsu une justification
tres precise dans Ie Senchaku-shii de Honen, qui declare:
- Question: Pourquoi Ie nembutsu de Ia prononciation du nom (shomyo nembutsu
est-ille seul panni Ies cinq sortes [de pratiques principales] It etre
l' acte fixant dans Ie vrai?
- Reponse : Parce qu'il suit Ie voeu de ce Buddha (jun hi butsu gan ko )llAflt.f9ll
lIIiOc). Cela signifie que Ie nembutsu de Ia prononciation du nom est Ia pratique
60. DucoR, ibid., p.79. La version sanskrite a Le chinois ji #.f
correspond au sanskrit dharal)a (cf. LAMOTIE, Traite 5, p.2355, n.2). Pour
d'autres equivalents chinois de manasikara, v. DEMIEVILLE, Concile, p. 79.
61. T.37, 1753, k.1, p.250a4, 9-19; SSZ 1, p.456 (cf. Amidakyo : T.12, 366,
p. 347bl0-14; SSZ 1, p. 69). Cf. PAS, p. 293, n. 56, qui se borne It faire remarquer
que l' expression to call the name of the Buddha n' apparait pas dans Ie texte
du sutra.
62. T.47, 1979, k.2, p. 433c21-23; SSZ 1, p. 598.
63. T.47, 1982, k. 1, p.461a9-1O.
du voeu originel de ce Buddha [Amida]. Par consequent, celui qui le cultive est
vehicule par Ie voeu de ce Buddha et ira necessairement naitre dans sa Terre
Pour Honen, l' essentiel est bien que, dans Ia definition de Shandao, nen
(contempler ou prononcer) Ie nom de 'Mida est l'acte fixant dans Ie
vrai <<parce qu'il suit Ie voeu de ce Buddha. Telle est Ie fond de sa
decouverte ultime dans les Ecritures - car c'est bien d'elle qu'il s'agit ici.
Relatant cette derniere, Honen fera, d' ailleurs, cette declaration revelatrice
a propos de la definition de Shandao:
Apres avoir vu ce passage, les ignorants que nous sommes doivent entierement
Ie respecter, se confier exclusivement a ce principe, cultiver la prononciation du
nom (sh6my6 f1ll.:t) a chaque instant sans l'abandonner, et nous obtiendrons la
cause karmique de la determination de notre naissance dans la Terre Pure: alors,
non seulement nous croirons a l'enseignement Mrite de Shandao, mais en plus
nous suivrons Ie voeu universel de 'Mida! L'expression parce qu'il suit Ie
voeu de ce Buddha impregne profondement mon esprit et penetre mon coeur.
C' est precisement cette reference au voeu que PAS semble vouloir reprocher
aux commentateurs japonais, qu'il resume ainsi d'apres Ie dictionnaire de
the oral invocation of Amita's name is the only right and determining action,
whereas the other four actions are auxiliary. The right action is the one that is in
accordance with the original vow of Amita. (p.271)
Autorite eminente de l'ecole Ji5do-sha, dont il occupa meme la fonction
supreme de patriarche (kanchi5 og-:&), MOCHIZUKI Shinko (1869-1948)
resume parfaitement-ia position et de Shandao et de Honen, qu'il cite au
demeurant. A contrario, on notera qu'en citant Shandao sur la defintion
de l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai, PAS (p.271) omet purement et simplement Ie
passage final parce qu'il suit Ie voeu de ce Buddha67.
Or, la reelle perspicacite de Honen est bien d' avoir decouvert ce qui fait
la profonde originalite du Commentaire de Shandao: lire l'enseignement
de Sakyamuni contenu dans Ie Satra des contemplations ala lumiere des
voeux d' Amida rapportes par Ie Satra de Vie-Infinie. C'est donc tout
64. SCS, ch. 2: T. 83, p. 3a, 27-bl; SSZl, p. 935-936.
65. In Ryoe: T. 83, 2611, k. 15, p. 237a29-b7; SSZ 4, p. 680-681. Shunjo, p. 186-187.
66. Cf. Mbdj. 3, s. v. shD-jo ni p. 2667c.
67. Pourtant, PAS la conservait plus haut dans son livre (p.244), ou il fournit la
traduction du texte complet de Shandao sur les pratiques, la definition de l' acte
fixant dans Ie vrai s 'y achevant bien sur I' expression because it is in accordance
with the vows of Buddha Amita.
JIABS 22.1 110
naturellement au sein de ce demierque l' on examinera comment l'invoca-
tion du nom du Buddha Amida figure dans les voeux pronon<;es par
celui-d durant sa carriere de bodhisattva, et plus particulierement dans Ie
plus fameux d'entre eux, Ie dix-huitieme voeu.
C'est la qu'une surprise de taille nous attend. Car Ie texte du Satra de
Vie-Infinie ne mentionne pas directement Ie nembutsu, que ce soit sous sa
forme contemplative ou jaculatoire, pas plus qu'il ne mentionne Ie nom
du Buddha Amida! Si l' on veut comprendre Ie raisonnement de Honen, il
faut alors se rMerer a la lecture que Shandao donne lui-meme du voeu, Ie
maitre chinois ne citant pas litteralement Ie texte du sutra mais Ie para-
phrasant toujours selon sa propre interpretation. Void tout d'abord Ie
texte du sutra:
Si je deviens buddha, que les etres des dix directions, d'un coeur sincere (shishin
et d'une foi rejouie (shingyo desirent naitre en mon royaurne
(yoku shO ga koku W\j::;ftIP.!ll), ne serait-ce que dix instants (jiinen et
qu'ils n'y naissaient pas, je ne prendrais pas Ie parfait eveil
- Exception faite
seuIement de [ceux qui ont commis] les cinq perversions
et la calomnie de la
Loi correcte.71
Et void la paraphrase de ShandilO:
Si je deviens buddha, que les etres des dix directions prononcent mon nom (sho
ga myogo en souhaitant naitre en mon royaume, ne serait-ce que dix
instants, et qu'ils n'y naissaient pas, je ne prendrais pas Ie parfait eveil.
En outre, selon Shandao, cette lecture constitue Ie contenu de chacun des
quarante-huit voeux du futur Buddha Amida
La difference d'avec Ie
texte du sutra est de taille - convenons-en! Mais cette interpretation n'est
68. Litteralement: foi qui se delecte. Sur ce terme, v. les remarques de DEMIEVILLE,
qui Ie rend par foi (ou conviction) et appetence: Concile, p. 163, n. 8.
69. Sur cette derniere expression, v. DEMIEVILLE, ibid., p.127, n.1.
70. Gogyaku JiJi.t! : parricide, matricide, arhaticide, faire couler Ie sang d'un
buddha et causer Ie schisme de la cominunaute bouddhique. L VP, Kosa, ch. 4,
71. T. 12, 360, k. 1, p.268a26-28; SSZ 1, p.9. Cf. la traduction qu'en proposait
DEMIEVILLE, Versions chinoises, p.235; elle est reprise, avec de legeres
modifications, dans Ie HobOgirin, s. v. Amida, p. 26a. LAMorrE utilise la seconde
version (Traite, 1, p. 601-602, n. 1).
72. T.37, 1753,k. l,p.250bI4-17;cf. T.47, 1959,p.27aI6-19; 1980,p.447c23-25
(SSZ 1, p. 457; cf. p. 635,683). Cites in SCS, ch. 3.
73. Cf. Ie traitement par Shandao du 35e voeu d' Arnida: T.47, 1959, p.27bI5-19;
SSZ 1, p. 637 (cf. T. 12, 360, k. 1, p. 268c21-24; SSZ 1, p. 12).
pas une pure invention de Shandao. Bien qu'il n'y fasse pas explicitement
reference, on en trouve les premices dans l' oeuvre de son maitre Daochuo,
ou celui-ci offre sa propre paraphrase duvoeu:
Quand bien meme ils auraient fait Ie mal durant toute leur vie, s'il y a des etres
vivants qui, au moment de mourir, prononcent mon nom (sho ga myoji
Of) dans une succession de dix instants et qu'ils n'allaient pas naitre [en mon
royaume], je ne prendrais pas Ie parfait evei1.
Les deux maitres chinois ne donnent aucune justification de leur lecture,
mais celle-ci semble tributaire du passage de la derniere classe de naissance
dans Ie Siitrades contemplations pronant Ie nembutsu jaculatoire (plus
bas, p. 116). Accessoirement, nous les voyons aussi ignorer superbement
la fin du voeu et son exclusion des pires crimes, ce dont Shandao s' explique
dans Ie Commentaire, en mettant en parallele Ie Satra de Vie-Infinie et Ie
Satra descontemplations

Quoi qu'il en soit, Ie raisonnement de Honen est valide. n s'articule sur
Ie syllogisme suivant: selon la definition de Shandao, commemorer (nen
Ie nom de 'Mida (Mida myogo constitue l'acte fix ant
dans Ie vrai <<parce qu'it suit Ie voeu de ce buddha; or, ce voeu, selon la
lecture de Shandao, consiste a prononcer (sM Wi-) Ie nom de ce Buddha;
done, la commemoration du nom ne peut etre comprise que dans Ie sens
du nembutsu jaculatoire (shonen On revisera en consequence les
propos de PAS lorsque celui-ci declare, a propos de la defintion de l'acte
fixant dans Ie vrai, que celui-ci serait
the practice of meditation and the remembrance of his name. [ ... ] Oral invocation
is not included here, although it may be implied. (p. 271-272)
D'ailleurs, dans un article paru en 1987, PAS lui-meme nuan\(ait son
jugement, en dis ant de l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai qu'il s'agit du nembutsu
with its twofold meaning of meditation and recitation. (1987, p. 80)
Des lors, on ne comprend pas pourquoi cette rectification n' a pas ete
reprise dans la publication de sa these editee huit ans apres son article.
D'autant que ce dernier avait aussi Ie merite d'evoquer brievement la
doctrine de Honen, qu'il definit comme exclusive emphasis on oral
invocation, non sans ajouter aussitot:
74. T.47, 1958, k. 1, p. 13cll-13; SSZ 1, p.4lO; cite in SCS, ch. 1. Peu auparavant,
Daochuo faisait citer litteralement Ie texte original du sutra par l'un de ses
contradicteurs (ibid., p.llbI5-16; p.402).
75. T.37, 1753, k. 3, p. 277a22-b4; SSZ 1, p. 555.
JIABS 22.1 112
In sharp contrast to Honen's claim, however, it is beyond doubt that Shan-tao
praises the practice of meditative vision as the superior one. (1987, p. 79)
6. Le nembutsujaculatoire : foi et pratique
Cela etant, 1'interpretation jaculiltoire du nembutsu ne prejuge pas, bien
au contraire, d'une certaine attitude mentale, qui doit accompagner cette
pratique et qui rend ainsi justice au sens premier du caractere nen
Cette disposition d'esprit est exposee dans Ie Sutra des contemplations
comme etant celie dite du triple coeur (sanshu-shin =-;fiH,,), que Shandao
analyse, en paraliele avec sa definition de la pratique, dans une analyse
novatrice restee celebre
Selon Ie siitra, Ie pratiquant doit reunir les
trois facultes suivantes: coeur de sincerite (shijo-shin coeur
profond Uinshin et coeur de transfert des merites et de production
du voeu [de la naissance dans la Terre Pure] (eko-hotsugan-shin @)[tiHl
JjiIG. Et Ie siitra d'ajouter:
Celui qui est pourvu de ces trois coeurs naitra necessairement dans ce royaume
[du Buddha Arnida].77
Pour Shandao, si Ie nembutsu jaculatoire constitue l'acte (go *) fixant
dans Ie vrai, ces trois coeurs sont la cause principale (shoin IE lEI), qui
oriente la pratique
Et, selon lui, leur efficace est deterrninante:
Des lors que nous sommes pourvus des trois coeurs, il n'est pas de pratique qui
ne s'accomplisse.
En outre, bien que les trois coeurs n'apparaissent que dans la premiere
des neuf classes d' etres (kubon 118&) mentionnees par Ie siitra dans la
section des pratiques dispersees, Shandao les applique a l' ensemble des
seize methodes proposees par Ie meme texte, y compris dans la section
des pratiques recueillies
Mais l'originalite du maitre chinois se revele
surtout dans son traitement de la deuxieme disposition, Ie coeur profond
(jinshin qu'il comprend comme etant Ie coeur de foi profonde
76. Elle occupe un tiers du dernier volume du Commentaire: T.37, 1753, k.4,
p. 270c24-273b14; SSZ 1, p. 532-541; cite SCS, ch. 8. PAS (p. 238) la considere
comme one of the most impressive parts du Commentaire.
77. T.12, 365, p. 344clO-13; SSZ 1, p. 60.
78. T.37, 1753, k. 4, p. 270c24-25, 276a27; SSZ 1, p. 532,551.
79. Ibid., p. 273b12 et p. 541. Cf. T.47, 1980, p. 438c12-13; SSZ 1, p. 649.
80. T.37, 1753, k. 4, p. 273b13-14; SSZ 1, p. 541. Cf. PAS, p. 247.
(jinshin shi shin Cette interpretation ne manque pas de
derouter PAS:
It is a surpri,se [ ... ] The text of the sutra does not imply faith: shen-hsin [i*
Jr.\] [ ... ] means strong determination to proceed on the Bodhisattva path.
The change is made by Shan-tao himself. None of the other teachers (Hui-
yuan, Chi-yi, Chi-tsang) interprets shen-hsin as deep faith. The reason may
be that Shan-tao was not aware of the Sanskrit term or its antecedent in Buddhist
literature. [ ... ] Shan-tao made an exegetical mistake, although not a
theological one. (p. 242)
Ce jugement - qui ne figurait pas dans la these de PAS - ne manque pas
de poids, ne serait-ce qu'en raison de la signification originelle de l'expres-
sion coeur profond (jinshin i5jgJL'), qui rend Ie sanskrit adhyiiSaya, ou
haute resolution82. Mais c'est faire bien peu de cas tant del'originalite
que de Ia profonde spiritualite qui sous-tend toute l'oeuvre de Shandao.
Car cette identification du coeur profond avec la foi n'est pas isolee:
elle se retrouve dans deux autres de ses ouvrages, les Cinq conditions
souveraines et Les Hymnes sur lit naissance dans la Terre Pure, ou Ie
coeur profond est a chaque fois interprete comme etant Ie coeur de
foi (shinjin Cette constance suppose donc des motifs moins
triviaux que ceux par PAS.
En fait, comme dans sa definition de l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai, Shandao
s'efforce ici, une fois de plus, d'etablir Ie lien entre Ie Satra des
contemplations et Ie Satra de Vie-Infinie, puisqu'il ne fait rien d'autre
que d'identifier Ie triple coeUD> du premier avec les trois dispositions
d'esprit mentionnees par Ie 18e voeu d' Amida contenu dans Ie second,
soit: Ie coeur sincere (shishin lafoi rejouie (shingyo et Ie
desir de naitre (yokushO :tlk::.) dans la Terre Pure. L' equivalence etablie
par Shandao entre les trois coeurs des deux siltra sera d' ailleurs
explicitement reconnue par Honen
. Cette lecture du Satra des
contemplations ala lumiere du Satra de Vie-Infinie, si caracteristique de
Shandao, se retrouve immediatement dans la seconde partie de son
commentaire sur Ie contenu du coeur profond, lequel consiste a:
81. T.37, 1753, k. 4, p. 271a27; SSZ 1, p. 534. Cf. H. 1, p. 33a, s.v. anjin.
82. Cf. LAMOTTE, Vimalakfrti, p. 406-407.
83. Resp. T. 47, 1959, p. 26c16 (SSZ 1, p. 634); et 1980, p. 438c6-7 (SSZ 1, p. 649),
cite in SCS, ch. 8.
84. Commentaire du Siitra des contemplations, in Ry5e: T. 83, 2611, k. 2, 12SbS-6;
SSZ 4, p. 352.
JIABS 22.1 114
Prernierement: croire profondement (jinshin et avec determination que
nous sommes nous-memes actuellement des etres ordinaires (bombu A:k),
mauvais et pleins d'erreurs dans Ie cycle des naissances et des morts, OU nous
avons constamment toumes depuis de longs kalpa sans avoir les conditions de
Ia delivrance.
Deuxiemement: croire profondement et avec determination que les quarante-
huit voeux du Buddha Arnida embrassent les etres et que, sans doute ni hesitation,
ceux-ci iront certainement naitre dans sa Terre vehicules par Ie pouvoir de ses
voeux (ganriki INl1J).85
Enfin et surtout, ce paralle!isme entre les deux sutra etait d' ores et deja
par Shandao des les premieres !ignes de son Commentaire:
L'enseignant du monde Sah1l [Sakyamuni], en raison de ces requetes [de la
reine VaidehI], ouvrit largement Ia doctrine essentielle (yomon de Ia
Terre Pure. Le maitre de [la Terre Pure] Bonheur-Paisible [Amida] devoila son
voeu universel (gugan 5LIml) de signification speciale. La doctrine essentielle,
ce sont les deux methodes recueillies et dispersees de ce Satra des contemplations.
Quant au voeu universel, il est tel qu'expose dans Ie Grand Satra [de Vie-InJinie].86
On relevera aussi, comme devait Ie faire Honen
, que c'est a l'interieur
de ce meme commentaire sur Ie coeur profone! identifie a la foi que
Shandao offre sa definition des pratiques, et singulierement celIe du
nembutsu, l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai

Nous avons vu (plus haut, p.llO-111) que la definition de l'acte fixant
dans Ie vrai doit se comprendre en fonction de la formulation tres personnelIe
du voeu d' Amida offerte par Shandao, mentionnant les etres qui
prononcent mon nom (sho ga myogo en souhaitant naitre en mon
royaume (gan sho ga-koku lml1::fltil) ...
Ainsi, a cote de la pratique du nembutsu jaculatoire proprement dite,
cette paraphrase mentionne aussi une attitude mentale la ou Ie texte du
Satra de Vie-Infinie enumerait les trois coeurs. II semble done qu'aux
yeux de Shandao, Ie souhait de naitre dans Ie royaume d' Amida, tel qu'il
figure dans sa paraphrase, englobe chacun des trois coeurs. Cela se trouve
effectivement confirme par l'analyse qu'il donne de ceux-ci. Nous avons
releve, en effet, comment ilIes identifie avec ceux presentes par Ie Satra
des contemplations: Ie coeur sincere du premier correspond au coeur
85. T.37, 1753, k. 4, p. 271a29-bl; SSZ 1, p. 534. Le HobOgirin interprete Ie coeur
profond par profondement convaincu de sa rnisere et de la puissance du voeu
d' Amida (H. 1, s. v. anjin, p. 33a).
86. T.37, 1753, k.l, p. 249b5-1O; SSZ 1,443.
87. Cite par Shinran: T. 83, 2674, k. 2a, p. 868a8-11; SSZ 4, p. 132.
88. Ce point a encore ete souligne recernment par CHAPPELL (1996: 162).
de sincerite du second, aussi defini par Shandao comme Ie coeur de
verite (shinjitsu-shin de meme, 1a foi rejouie est identifiee
au coeur profond (jinshin tandis que Ie desir de naitre dans la
Terre Pure equjvaut au coeur de transfert des merites et de production
du voeu [de 1a naissance dans 1a Terre Pure]. Or, Ie Commentaire de
Shandao donne de ce dernier une defmition qui montre que ceIui-ci sythetise
bien les deux autres coeurs, puisqu'il consiste en ceci:
11 partir d'un coeur de verite et de foi profonde (shinjitsu jin shinjin
Jt.\), souhaiter naitre en son royaume en transferant (eko [ill f'iJ) toutes les racines
de bien cultivees par nous-memes et par les autres [ ... ] 89
Des lors, si l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai correspond bien au voeu d' Amida, 1a
commemoration de son nom (nen ... myi5gi5 ... inclut et 1a
prononciation du nom et l' attitude mentale de 1a foi. On comprend
maintenant mieux pourquoi 1a definition de l' acte fixant dans Ie vrai se
contentait du caractere nen pour evoquer Ie nembutsu: elle preservait
de 1a sorte 1a dimension spirituelle du nembutsu jaculatoire, au lieu de Ie
cantonner it un acte purement mecanique. n s'agit d'un acte dans Ie sens
comp1et du terme, et c'est bien pourquoi Shandao Ie definit comme acte
(go *) fixant dans Ie vrai et pas simplement comme pratique (gyi5
h). En ce sens, PAS avait raison, dans son article de 1987, d'estimer que
to reduce nembutsu to only one aspect is to do an injustice to the text
(p. 80); par contre, i1 n'est pas justifie it y affirmer:
By using the term in its ambiguity, he [Shan-tao] seems to stress the
fact that for him nienfo is both meditative and recitative and should not be
separated. (1987, p. 77)
Car ces deux compos antes de 1a commemoration du nom ne sont pas
celles de 1a meditation et de 1a recitation, mais bien celles de la foi et de
1a recitation. Le nembutsu jacu1atoire comprend done, d'une part, l'attitude
mentale, et d' autre part, 1a pratique proprement dite. C' est ce que Honen,
reprenant une termino10gie de Shandao, designe respectivement comme
l'assurance et la mise en pratique (anjin kigyi5 La
seu1e alternative pouvant eventuellement justifier l' interpretation de PAS
89. T.47, 1753, k.4, p.272bI3-18; SSZ 1, p.538. C'est dans la suite de son
commentaire sur Ie coeur de transfert que Shandao donne sa celebre parabole
dite des Deux rivieres et de la voie blanche (niga-byakudo =iiiJB;]!; T.47,
1753, k. 4, p. 272c15-273b8; SSZ 1, p. 539-540); cf. PAS, p. 147-149.
90. In Ryoe, T. 83, 2611, k 12, p. 195c25-26, 199a24-b9; SSZ 4, p.612, 621. Cf.
Shandao, T. 47, 1980, p. 438c1; SSZ 1, p. 648; cite in SCS, ch. 8.
JIABS 22.1 116
serait que Ie nembutsu soit constitllc de la foi et de la meditation, mais
cette solution est precisement celie rejetee par Shandao.
7. Le nembutsu in articulo morti
Cependant, PAS (p. 274-27 5) semble trouver la clef de son interpretation
meditative du nembutsu dans Ie commentaire de Shandao sur la derniere
des neuf classes de naissance (gebon-geshO 86 du Satra des
contemplations. Mais l'explication de PAS est affectee d'une tournure
elliptique qui ne facilite pas la comprehension de sa demonstration,
impression renforcee par l' absence de citation des textes. II faut done
revenir aces derniers, d' autant que celui du siltra presente des variantes.
Dans ce passage du siltra, il est expose comment un homme qui a accumule
les pires fautes, dont les cinq perversions
, se retrouve a l' article de la
mort; mais il rencontre alors un maitre bouddhique qui lui explique
gradueliement comment alIer naitre dans la Terre Pure. Voici la traduction
de la vulgate du siltra:
Cet homme aussi imbecile, au moment du trepas, rencontre un arni-de-bien, qui
l' apaise de toutes sortes de manieres en lui exposant la Loi merveilleuse et en
lui enseignant a commemorer Ie Buddha (nembutsu Mais un homme
aussi rempli de souffrance n'ayant pas Ie loisir de commemorer Ie Buddha
(nembutsu son ami-de-bien lui declare: Si tu ne peux Ie commemorer
(nen tu dois celebrer Ie Buddha Vie-Infinie (shO Muryoju butsu fIll.1l!t:ita
{iJIJ)>>. De la sorte, d'un coeur sincere, il est amene a prononcer (sho fIll.), d'une
voix ininterrompue, en dix instants (jiinen Namu Amida Butsu92 (ii
Comme il prononce Ie nom du Buddha (shO butsu myo fIll.fiJIJ:15),
a chaque instant, il efface les fautes des naissances et des morts de quatre-vingts
millions de periodes cosrniques. Au moment du trepas, il voit une fleur de lotus
d'or, pareille au disque solaire, qui s'arrete devant lui. En l'espace d'un instant,
il va irnmediatement naitre dans Ie monde Bonheur-Supreme.
91. Plus haut, n.70.
92. Selon la prononciation sino-japonaise dite de Wu (goon ou Namo Abita
Fu en prononciation sino-japonaise dite Han (kan' on cf. DUCOR,
Amidakyo, p. 134-135). La branche Honganji du Shinshu combine ces deux
prononciations pour donner la formule Namo Amida Butsu (cf. Genchi,
Koshinroku, k. 1; Ssrs. 9, p. 450b). En chinois modeme: Nanwu Amituo Fo.
93. T. 12,365, p. 346a15-22, n. 7-9; SSZ 1, p. 65. Cf. DEM:rEVILLE, Versions chinoises,
p.236; ANDREWS (1973), p.16-17; INAGAKI (1994), p.348. Le texte de la
vulgate est celui utilise par Tanluan deja, avec cette variante pour la forrnule du
nembutsu: Namu Muryoju Butsu ii1l!t1l!t.afiJIJ (T. 40, 1819, k. 1, p. 833c27-
834a12; SSZ 1, p. 307-308); INAGAKI (1998), p. 194-195.
Plus haut dans son livre, PAS avait fourni une traduction de ce passage,
dont il me faut citer ici un extrait:
if you are unable to practice the nien [Arnita]lo you should praise and entrust
your life (ch 'eng kui ming Wl-MiIr) to the Buddha of Measureless life. (p. 264)
On voit, tout d'abord, que PAS se rMere non pas a la vulgate mais a
l' edition moderne de l' ere Taish6 du canon, eIle-meme fondee sur son
edition coreenne, dont Shandao ne disposait evidemment pas, puisque
cette derniere ne date que du XIIle siecle
Quant a sa traduction, il me
semble qu'elle devrait plut6t dire ceci:
Si tu ne peux commemorer ce buddha (nen hi butsu tu dois prononcer
(shO Wl-): 'Je prends refuge dans Ie Buddha Vie-Infinie!' (Kimyo Muryoju Butsu
Le sutra montre ainsi clairement que l'ami-de-bien enseigne a prononcer
la formule du nembutsu jaculatoire. Car si entrust your life peut constituer
une traduction litterale de ki-myo lllf4[J, nous savons par Shandao lui-meme
que cette expression rend, evidemment, Ie sanskrit nama, tel qu'il apparait
dans la formule canonique du nembutsu

Mais revenons au commentaire de Shandao sur cet enseignement de la
derniere heure. Le sutra Ie gradue en deux etapes: d'abord, la commemora-
tion du Buddha, puis la prononciation de son nom. De ce passage, Shandao
offre Ie commentaire suivant:
Cet homme-de-bien l'apaise et lui enseigne a commemorer le Buddha (nembutsu
Rempli de fautes, l'homme presse par l'arrivee de la souffrance de la
mort n'est pas en mesure de commemorer Ie nom du Buddha (nen butsu-myo
Son ami-de-bien sachant qu'il souffre et que la commemoration (nen
lui echappe, illui enseigne graduellement a prononcer oralement (tengyo
ku sM J!itW:I=I:fi!j.) Ie nom de 'Mida (Mida myogo
Ainsi done, Shandao interprete la premiere etape, non pas comme la
simple commemoration du Buddha, mais, plus precisement, comme la
94. Cf. DUCOR, Amidakyo, p. 111-112.
95. T.12, 365, p.346a17-18; SSZ 1,p.65, etn.4-5.
96. T.37, 1753, k. 1, p. 246b29-c2; SSZ 1, p.444. Shandao y traduit la formule du
nembutsu par Ie prends refuge dans l'Eveille Vie-Infinie (Kimyo Muryoju
97. T.37, 1753, k.4, p. 277b14-16; SSZ 1, p. 555. PAS se contente d'une paraphrase
JIABS 22.1 118
commemoration du nom (my6 45) du Buddha, qui precede le nembutsu
jaculatoire proprement dit. Et PAS d'indiquer:
Here Shan-tao clearly distinguishes between two practices. The better one is
nien-fo [commemorer Ie Buddha], also called nien-fo-ming [commemorer le
nom du Buddha]; the other, less recommendable but still efficacious, is to recite
the name of Buddha orally (k'ou-ch'eng ming-hao). This is the passage in
which the distinction is made more clearly. All other passages which are not so
clear should be interpreted in this light. (p. 275)
On ne voit pas tres bien ou PAS veut en venir, puisqu'il n'en dit pas
11 semble cependant que, pour lui, Ie nembutsu de la premiere
etape conserverait un caractere meditatif, qui Ie valoriserait par rapport
au nembutsu jaculatoire. Mais si Shandao insere ici la mention du <<nom
du Buddha, c'est precisement pour eviter de laisser la place a une confusion
du lecteur du sutra et pour induire la pratique fix ant dans Ie vrai, qui,
faut-ille rappeler, consiste a commemoreD> (nen ~ ) Ie nom (myogo
4 5 ~ ) .
Ce passage du sutra decrit donc Ie deroulement suivant. Dans un premier
temps, Ie mourant est exorte a la pratique de l' acte fixant dans Ie vrai, en
commemorant Ie nom du Buddha: cela comprend la mise en pratique de
la prononciation du nom et l' attitude mentale de l' aspiration a la naissance
dans la Terre Pure. Mais Ie patient est dans une detresse trop grande pour
y parvenir: en effet, s'il a commis les cinq perversions, c'est qu'il a
entretenu de la haine notamment a l'encontre de deux des Trois Joyaux,
et, singulierement, envers celui du Buddha lui-meme
Or, voila qu'on
lui demande precisement de commemorer Ie Buddha tout en souhaitant
naitre dans sa Terre! Tant et si bien que Ie mourant est incapable de fixer
son esprit dans cette attitude. Son conseiller 1'enjoint alors a pratiquer au
moins la premiere composante de la commemoration, soit la seule pronon-
dation du nom. Le mourant accepte alors cet enseignement, car, s'il a
accompli les cinq perversions, il n'a pas pour autant commis cette faute
supreme que constituerait la calomnie de la Loi (hObo W ~ ) lOa. Au dernier
98. li s'agit pourtant de l'une des cles principales de son argumentation: elle
apparaissait deja, quasi litteralement, dans son compte rendu du livre de FUnw ARA
en 1976 (p. 146ab) et elle sera reprise, tout aussi litteralement, dans son article
de 1987 (p. 80).
99. On peut en conclure que les etres de cette classe ne sont meme pas bouddhistes
(cf. PAS, p. 287), et je ne vois pas pourquoi TANAKA (p. 83) les fait ranger par
Shandao dans Ie Mahayana.
100. La calomnie de la Loi est la plus grave de toutes les fautes, ceux qui la commettent
s'excluant d'eux-memes de la voie liberatrice qu'elle propose. lis devIont done
moment, il s' adonne donc a la prononciation du nom: grace a cene-ci,
son mental sera finalement fixe dans la meilleure direction a !'instant du
trepas, en ce que Shandao et les textes cites par lui denomment, litteralement,
lei pensee correcte (shOnen
A propos tel mourant, Shandao observe d'ailleurs:
L'ami-de-bien lui ens eigne a prononcer (sho $.) Namu Amida Butsu et
l'exorte a aller naitre dans la Terre Pure. S'appuyant sur cet enseignement,
l'homme celebre Ie Buddha (shO butsu $.{iJfl) et il y nait aussitot vehicule par
cette commemoration (jo nen
Pour autant, cela ne justifie pas I' interpretation de PAS, pour qui
name invocation has to be conditionned by right anusmrti, which supposes
mental concentration. (p. 274)
Car l' expression bouddhique chinoise shOnen ne se rMere pas ici a
une pratique recueillie de type anusmrti, mais bien a ce que Ie bouddhisme
denomme pensee [du moment] de la mort (skr. maralJacitta), ou pensee
correcte du moment de la mort (rinja shOnen Cette forme
extreme du nembutsu exposee par Ie Satra des contemplations ne requiert
donc pas de la part de ce type d'agonisant qu'il reunisse les trois coeurs
et transfere prealablement les merites de son action ultime vers ce but
qu'est la naissance dans la Terre Pure
. C'est ce que Honen qualifiera
de non-transfert des merites (fu-eko /f@)rPJ), car, pour celui qui cultive
les pratiques principales,
se convertir, ou reorienter leur mental (eshin @l iL\), avant de pouvoir bneficier
de l'enseignement bouddhique en general, et du nembutsu en particulier. V.
Shandao, T. 47, 1979, k. 1, p. 426a4-5; SSZ 1, p. 567. Cf. GIRA (1985), p. 41.
101. T.37, 1753, k. 1, p. 249a26; SSZ 1, p. 452.
102. Cf. Daochuo, T.47, 1958, k. 2, p. 16c25-26 (SSZ 1, p.422); Yuanzhao, T.37,
1761, p.362bI3-17. La pensee du moment de la mort est dispersee, et non
recueillie (LVP, Siddhi, p. 195-197; id. Kosa, ch 3, p. 132-133. Cf. DUCOR,
Amidakyo, p.82 et n.268-269; id., Tannisho, p.57-58). EIle ne doit pas etre
confondue avec l' exercice de la commemoration de la mort (skr. maral}-tinusmrti,
jap. nenshi v. LAMOrrE, Traite 3, p. 1422 ss.
103. On corrigera donc les propos de BLOOM (p. 15), selon qui Shandao did not
indicate how beings who have committed the five deadly sins [ ... ] could cultivate
those mental attitudes. It would appear that a considerable degree of self effort
and mental discipline were required; cf. GIRA (1985), p.75-76, 180. II est
d' ailleurs frappant que Shandao ne glose meme pas l' expression coeur sincere
(shishin ..iL\) pourtant mentionnee ici par Ie sutra (cf. plus haut, p. 116).
JIABS 22.1 120
meme s'H. n'utilise pas specialetnent Ie transfert des merites (eko 1BI[1;]), il
realise l'acte de la naissance dans la Terre Pure par Ie fait-meme Uinen !3
A plus forte raison, ce nembutsu jaculatoire ne requiert pas de disposition
meditative, contrairement a l'opinion de PAS lorsqu'il affirme encore:
oral invocation is rather secondary, and is only meritorious inasfar as it is
produced from a concentrated mind [ ... ]. (p. 273)
8. L' efficace du nembutsujaculatoire
La question se pose cependant de savoir d' ou la simple prononciation du
nom tire une telle efficacite, sans pour autant etre magique - car l' agonisant
ne saurait etre deIivre malgre lui! D'un point de vue bouddhique, en
effet, toute pratique (gyo fi) doit etre orientee par un voeu (gan a)
propre: c'est Ie principe de l'acte (go informe par la volition (skr.
cetanii.) 105. Or, selon Shandao, cite par Honen dans sa demonstration,
chaque prononciation (sho de la formule du nembutsu est pourvue et
du voeu et de la pratique, car;
Namu, c'est prendre refuge (kimyo Iliilt); c'est aussi [Ie coeur de] la production
du voeu (hotsu-gan ;6.) et du transfert des merites [pour alIer naitre dans la
Terre Pure] (ekO 1BI[1;]). Amida Butsuen est la pratique (gyo fj).I06
PAS (p, 295) juge cette interpretation very shaky. Pourtant, elle ne manque
pas de perspicacite. Car Shandao montre ici que Ie nembutsu jaculatoire
ne consiste pas en la simple repetition mecanique du seul nom Amida
Butsu! Amida Butsu! proprement dit. Par l'adjonction de l'expression
namu, la formulation complete de l'invocation decrite par Ie Siitra des
contemplations induit bel et bien une attitude mentale, qui est celle du
ce Buddha. Le processus de cette captation subtile du mental a
travers la prononciation du nom est soigneusement decrite par Shandao
dans son commentaire sur l'antepenultieme classe de la naissance dans la
Terre Pure (gebon joshO 1" Selon Ie sutra, les etres de cette
classe ont commis quantite d'actes mauvais mais ils rencontrent un ami-
de-bien qui leur fait l'eloge des sutra du Grand Vehicule. Neanmoins,
cela ne leur suffit pas, et illeur enseigne derechef a <<joindre les mains
paume contre paume et a prononcer (sho $.) 'Namu Amida Butsu,107.
104. SCS, ch. 2, T. 83, 2608, p. 3c17-23; SSZ 1, p. 937. Cf. GlRA (1985), p. 76.
105. LAMOTIE, Traite3, p.1244, n.1; LVP, Kosa, ch. 4, p.1-2, 177.
106. T.37, 1753, k.l, p. 250a27-b1; SSZ 1, p.457; cite in SCS, ch. 8.
107. T. 12, 365, p. 345c10-26; SSZ 1, p. 64. Shandao semble regrouper la majorite de
Et Shandao d'expliquer:
Les obstacles de ce1ui qui a cornmis ces fautes sont lourds (ju m); a cela
s'ajoute qu'il est presse par l'arrivee de ia souffrance de la mort. Bien que son
arni-de-bien lui expose de nombreux sutra, son mental qui les rec;oit est flottant
et disperse. ( .. ] Par contre, Ie nom du Buddha est un (butsu myo ze ichi
-). II rassemble Ie disperse et fait donc se calmer Ie mental. [Son arni-de-bien]
lui ens eigne derechef la prononciation du nom de la pensee correcte tdu moment
de la mort] (shan en shamyo et son mental s'en trouve leste (ju m)
[ ]. !O8
Un tel nembutsu est done a la fois un acte in articulo morti et un acte
Iourd: a ce titre, sa retribution sera doublement prioritaire sur tous les
autres types d'actes commis anterieurement par Ie mourant, soit, dans un
ordre regressif, Ie proche, l'habituel et celui d'une vie anterieure
vaut meme dans Ie cas du mourant de la derniere classe de naissance
(gebon geshOt: t: ::), qui, de son vivant, a accompli les cinq perversions.
Celles-ci sont pourtant des actions particulierement lourdes, et meme
reputees a retribution immediate (mugen prioritaires, elles devraient
Ie faire tomber dans Ie plus profond des enfers a l'instant-meme de sa
mort, nonobstant tous Ies autres actes qu'il aurait pu accomplirllO, mais a
I'exception, precisement, du nembutsu de Ia demiere heure
. On remar-
quera que l'analyse de Shandao temoigne ainsi d'une grande finesse
thanato-psychologique, celle-ci se nourissant de son experience person-
ses contemporains dans cette categorie (cf. T.37, 1753, k. 1, p. 249a15; SSZ 1,
p.452); v. HANEDA, p. 164, 181.
108. T.37, 1753, k.4, p.276b21-25; SSZ 1, p.552; cite in SCS, ch. 11. Cf. PAS,
109. Buddhaghosa, Visuddhimagga, XVII, 163 et XIX, 15 (td. p.567,
620); cf. LVP, Kosa, ch. 9, p. 296-297. Selon Ie Traite, la pensee de l'instant de
la mort l'emporte sur les actes s'etendant sur un sif;cle, c'est-a-dire sur toute
une vie (LAMOTTE, Traite 3, p. 1536-1539); passage cite par l' Ojo-yi5shu de
Genshin (T.84, 2682, k. 3b, p. 84al1-16; SSZ 1, p. 906-907); v. GIRA (1979),
p. 53, 61-62; ANDREWS (1973), p. 99.
110. LVP, Kosa, ch. 4, p. 204,212-213.
111. Tanluan montrait deja que Ie nembutsu de la derniere heure l' emporte en lourdeur
sur les cinq perversions en fonction de trois criteres: il s'appuie sur l'apaisement
procure par I'enseignement authentique de l'ami-de-bien, tandis que les
perversions se fondent sur un mental vicie par les vues fausses; il s'appuie sur
la foi (shinjin) insurpassable et Ie nom (myogo) aux merites veritables d' Arnida,
tandis que les perversions se fondent sur des conceptions erronnees et sur des
etres tributaires des passions; enfm, il est definitif, contrairement aux perversions
(T.40, 1819, k. 1, p. 834 b22- el2; SSZ 1, p. 310); INAGAKI (1998), p.198-201.
JIABS 22.1 122
nelle, conune en temoignent ses conseils pour l'assistance aux mourants
fournis par sa Methode de contempfation

Pour en revenir au conunentaire de PAS, i1 faut enfin souligner que nulle
part Shandao ne Iaisse entendre que Ie nembutsu jaculatoire serait inferieur
a quelque autre type de nembutsu. Cela n'a rien d'etonnant, puisque; en
bonne doctrine bouddhique, c'est I'adequation des pratiques avec les
dispositions du pratiquant qui en determine Ia valeur respective:
Les doctrines [du Buddha] depassent les quatre-vingts quatre milles. Graduelles
ou directes, elles expriment chacune ce qu'il a enseigne. En fonction des
circonstances (en ~ ) , e1les procurent toutes la delivrance. [ ... ] Face aux mobiles
(ki :m\) [que sont les etres], Ie Tathagata expose la Loi de multiples fa90ns
differentes. [ ... ] En fonction des circonstances, e1les procurent toutes Ie bienfait
de la realisation. 113
Reste a preciser queUe etait aux yeux de Shandao la valeur intrinseque de
la pratique du nembutsu jaculatoire ainsi que Ie type d'individus concemes.
Pour ce qui est de la valeur d'un tel nembutsu, Shandao y disceme deux
qualites propres: la facilite de son execution et la rapidite de ses effets.
Tout d' abord, et grace au voeu du Buddha Arnida, Ie nembutsu jaculatoire
est une methode facile, en comparaison des contemplations, qui sont
difficiles. Shandao s'en explique clairement dans ses Hymnes sur fa
naissance dans fa Terre Pure: apres s'etre rHere au Sutra de fa peifection
de sagesse expose par Mafijusrf, qui exorte ala prononciation exclusive
du nom du Buddha plut6t qu'a la contemplation de ses marques
, Shandao
donne cette interpretation:
- Question: Pourquoi ne fait-il pas faire la contemplation (kan i/.)? Pour quelle
raison fait-il directement prononcer (sho fIll.) Ie nom exclusivement ?
- RejJonse: En raison de la gravite des obstacles des etres, de la finesse de
1'objet [de la contemplation], de la grossierete de leur mental, de 1'agitation de
leur conscience et des envolees de leur esprit, la contemplation (kan i/.) est
difficile (nan Jl) a accomplir. C'est pourquoi, Ie Grand Saint [Sakyarnuni] en a
pitie et les exorte directement a l' exclusive prononciation du nom (shomyo fill.
15). Pour cette bonne raison que la prononciation du nom est facile (i ~ ) , en la
continuant, on milt dans la Terre Pure. [ ... J Ainsi, 1'Honore-du-monde 'Mida
ayant originellement produit ses voeux profonds et reiteres, il embrasse de sa
lumiere son nom les [etres des] dix directions. Si seulement ils y aspirent
112. T.47, 1959, 24b21-c4; SSZ 1, p. 625; INAGAKI 1966: 21-22; STEVENSON 1995:
113. T. 37, 1753, k. 1, p. 246bl-2, 26, 27-28; SSZ 1, p. 443,444.
114. Cf. T. 8, 232, k. 2, p. 731bl-5.
avec foi (shinjin en y passant au maximum toute leur vie, ou au minimum
jusqu'a dix prononciations ou une seule prononciation, etc, ils iront facilement
naitre dans sa Terre Pure grace au pouvoir du voeu du Buddha (butsu-gan-riki
. 19f1lwtn).115
Et Ie Commentaire du Sutra des contemplations declare egalement:
En y pass ant au maximum (ja 1:) toute une vie, ou au minimum (ge ""F)
jusqu'a dix instants, grace au pouvoir du voeu du Buddha, il n'est personne qui
n'y aille [naitre]. C'est pourquoi cela est qualifie de facile.116
Incidemment, on notera que Ies Hymnes utilisent l' expression dix
prononciations (jissho la ou Ie Commentaire reprend celIe de
dix instants - voire dix nembutsu (junen - telle qu'elle apparait
litteralement dans Ie 18e voeu du Grand Sutra et dans Ie passage de Ia
derniere classe de naissance du Sutra des contemplations. La premiere de
ces deux formules met done l' accent, sans aucune equivoque, sur Ia
dimension jaculatoire du nembutsu
, la seconde preservant la valeur
amphibologique du caractere
En outre, Ie nembutsu jaculatoire est d'une rapidite fulgurante et incompa-
rable. Loin d'etre secondaire, cette qualite est essentielIe, puisqu'elle fait
de lui Ie seul recours effie ace jusqu'a 1'instant meme du trepas. Ainsi,
Iorsque les etres de I' antepenultieme classe de la naissance dans la Terre
Pure prononcent la formule du nembutsu a l' article de la mort, la triade
d' Amida leur apparait aussitot (soku ElP), sous forme de corps de trans-
formation qui viennent les accueillir; et Ie Commentaire de preciser:
Du point de vue du voeu du Buddha, c'est seulement pour 1es exorter a la
prononciation du nom de la pensee correcte [du moment de la mort] (shanen
shamya En terme de rapidite ([chi] shitsu pour alIer naitre
dans la Terre Pure, les actes secondaires ou disperses (za-san ne peuvent
lui etre compares.1!8
115. T.47, 1980, p.439a24-bl, 11-14; SSZ 1, p. 651; cite in SCS, ch. 3. Le meme
extrait est cite par Yuanzhao dans son commentaire sur Ie Satra d'Amida (T. 37,
1761, p. 361c23-362al).
116. T.37, 1753, k. 1, p. 250b7-8; SSZ 1, p.457. On ne peut suivre la traduction de
P AS: Either through the superior practice of a whole lifetime, or through the
inferior practice of only ten nien ... (p.295-296).
117. On la retrouve dans les paraphrases des voeux d' Arnida mentionnees plus haut,
n.72, ainsi que dans la paraphrase du Satra des contemplations: T.47, 1959,
p. 25a6; SSZ 1, p. 627. Cf. YAMADA, p. 108, n. 2.
118. T.37, 1753, k. 4, p. 276c2-3; SSZ 1, p. 552-553; cite in SCS, ch. 10. La traduction
de PAS (p.274) fait probleme: Indeed, looking up to the intention of the
Buddha'avows, they only urge one to malce the right anusmrti and to call the
JIABS 22.1 124
De meme, les "etres de la derniere classe obtiennent immediatement la
naissance dans la Terre Pure (soku toku ojO
En terme de rapidite, ils arrivent directement (jiki 1JI[) dans royaume de
retour. 119
A ce stade, il me parait difficilede pouvoir encore affirmer comme PAS:
When comparing Shan-tao's exegesis of these different methods, one sees beyond
any doubt that the practice of meditation is praised as the most superior one. (p.
Shan-tao did not consider the recitation of Amita's name as superior, not
evenimplicitely. (p. 321-322; cf p. 275)
Enfin, il convient de savoir a qui s'adresse Ie nembutsu jaculatoire. PAS
soutient que Shandao fondait son enseignement pratique sur un double
standard: il aurait reserve Ie nembutsu jaculatoire aux beginners and
uneducated persons, aux commoners and those of shallow faith, who
were encouraged to start with the easy practice of name invocation but
always urged to progress on the path, tandis qu'il aurait recommand6 Ie
nembutsu contemplatif au more advanced and sophisticated disciple
(p. 93; cf p. xiii, 132-133,275,319-320). Or, nous l'avons suffisarnment
vu, c'est bel et bien Ie nembutsu jaculatoire qui constitue l'acte fixant
dans Ie vrai, et celui-ci s'adresse a tous les etres ordinaires (bombu
La preuve en est que Shandao livre sa definition du nembutsu conune
acte mant dans Ie vrai au cours de son commentaire sur la plus haute des
neuf classes, bien que Ie sUtra lui-meme ne Ie mentionne que dans la 7e
et la ge de celles-ci, de meme que les trois coeurs, mentionnes seulement
dans la plus haute des neuf classes, s'appliquent, selon Shandao, a
l' ensemble de ces dernieres et, meme, aux pratiques recueillies (plus
haut, p)12). Car pour lui, Ie message du siitra s'adresse a tous
les etres ordinaires remplis des cinq corruptions
apres que Ie Buddha
[Sakyamuni] aura quitte ce monde. C' est seulement en fonction des circonstances
name (nien-Fo [sic] ch'eng-ming). Even if one at the last moment wants to be
reborn, still it cannot be gained through confused and scattered action!.
119. T.37, 1753, k.4, p.277b818-19; SSZ 1, p. 555-556. Cf. DEMrEVILLE, Pensee
unique, p. 236.
120. Shandao se situait dans l'epoque d'accroissement des cinq corruptions,
caracteristique de la periode de la Loi decadente (T.47, 1979, k.2, p.435bI6;
SSZ 1, p.605; cf. DUCOR, Amidakyo, p.92-94). La notion de Loi decadente
(mappo lui venait de Daochuo, qui l' utilisait pour justifier son choix de la
doctrine de la Terre Pure (T.47, 1958, k. 1, p. 13c10; SSZ 1, p.4lO); cf. PAS,
qu'il est amene a faire des distinctions entr;: les neuf classes.
La seule difference concrete sera celle de l'intensite de la pratique. Dans
Ie cas extreme d'un individu de la derniere classe, ceIui-ci obtiendra la
. .
naissance dans la, Terre Pure meme par une seule prononciation du nembutsu
a l'article de la mort. A ce stade, on voit que, pour Ie Commentaire de
Shandao, l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai est suffisant. Mais, en temps.ordinaire,
les actes auxiliaires Uogo 1!iJ*) se joindront a la pratique du nembutsu
jaculatoire. Dans ses Hymnes de liturgie, Shandao recommande ainsi a
ses disciples de prononcer exclusivement Ie nom (sen sho myogo :w:m
et de lire accessoirement (ken 31ft) Ie Sutra de 'Mida, jusqu'a
plusieurs dizaines de milliers de fois122. Dans la Methode de
contemplation et les Cinq conditions, Shandao suggere aussi une pratique
quotidienne comprenant quinze lectures du sutra et 10.000 recitations du
nembutsu. Ceux qui seraient capables de Ie reciter de 30.000 a 100.000
fois appartiendraient, selon lui, a la plus haute des neuf classes, c'est-a-dire
aux etres ordinaires de capacites superieures du Grand V ehicule 123. Mais
ces recommandations, dont on voit qu'elles n'exaltent pas les pratiques
contemplatives, disparaitront de ses Hymnes louant la naissance dans la
Terre Pure ainsi que de son Commentaire.
Les sources biographiques disponibles 124 s' accordent a decrire Shandao
comme un moine austere et exigeant, dont l'enseignement conquit cepen-
dant toute la capitale. se qualifiait de plume legere parmi les
121. T.37, 1753, kl, p. 249a29-b1; SSZ 1, p. 453.
122. T.47, 1979, k 1, p. 424c21, 437c21; SSZ 1, p. 562,615.
123. T.47, 1959, p.23bI2-13, 24b18-19, 24c14-16, 25c7-1O; SSZ 1, p. 621, 625,
626, 630; lNAGAKI (1966), p.ll, 20-21; id. (1984), p.20, 25. Cf. FuJIWARA,
p. 85. Le premier passage est cite in SCS, ch. 5. Le deuxieme passage est cite
par PAS (p. 107), ce qui ne l' empeche pas de dire a propos de Shandao et de la
recitation du nembutsu: he apparently did not resort to counting (p. 93).
124. Cf. PAS, p. 67-104. A propos de la rencontre de Shandao avec Daochuo, PAS
(p. 86) rapporte un passage du lingtu-wangshen-chuan de Jiezhu (T. 51, 2071,
k 2, p. 119a26-27), selon qui he practiced a ritual of confession calledfang-teng
ch' an and another ritual called 'the nine degrees of the Pure Land'. Mais ce
texte ne prend son sens que dans la version revisee par Wang Gu: Le maitre de
meditation Daochuo pratiquait la confession developpee [du Grand V ehicule] et
donnait des conferences sur Ie Satra des contemplations en la ChapeUe (dojo ill:
des neuf classes de naissance dans la Terre Pure (cite par Honen: Compilation
des biographies des cinq patriarches de la Terre Pure, in Ryoe: T. 83, 2611,
k 9, p. 158alO-11; SSZ 4, p. 490); v. aussi T.47, 1970, k.5, p. 266c11. Sur ce
rituel de confession, v. Kuo Li-ying, index, s.v. fang-teng.
JIABS 22.1 126
[etres ordinaires] profanes [des dix degres] de la foi (shinge gyomo
@::)>>, se classant ainsi modestement au tout debut de la carriere des
bodhisattva, dans les dix premiers des cinquante-deux degres. que compte
celle-cil25. Si les pratiques meditatives occuperent certainement ses annees
de recherche et d'apprentissage,on ne peut exclure qu'il ait poursuivi, au
cours de sa vie, un type contemplatif de nembutsu comme 1'un des actes
auxiliaires, en parallele a celui de type jaculatoire. Cependant, qu'il att
personnellement adopte ce dernier ne fait aucun doute, si l' on en juge par
Ie ton et l' economie du Commentaire, sans parler de sa postface, ou
Shandao rapporte qu'il pouvait reciter joumellementjusqu'a mille
9. Questions de methodologie
D'une maniere plus generale, l'interpretation du triple coeur du Satra des
contemplations ainsi que la paraphrase duvoeu du Satra de Vie-Infinie
posent Ie probleme de la methodologie utilisee par Shandao. PAS releve
que, pour Ie maitre chinois, l' autorite des Ecritures citees est definitive,
ce qui, dans un contexte bouddhique, lui parait rather surprising (p.126).
Mais Ie plus surprenant parait plutot etre la liberte avec laquelle Shandao
cite ses sources, quitte a les paraphraser d'une riianiere si personnelle.
Pourtant, malgre leur Iiberte etonnante, les interpretations de Shandao se
situent dans la droite ligne de 1'hermeneutique bouddhique traditionnelIe,
dite des quatre autorites (shie
SeIon celle-ci, en effet, Ie recours a l'autorite d'un individu (nin A) -
ffit-ce Ie Buddha - s'efface devant Ie recours a la doctrine coucMe dans
Ie canon (ho 7!). Mais les textes sont susceptibles de toutes sortes de
manipulations, leSatra des contemplations en constituant un exemple
insigne, puisque les historiens discutent a perte de vue sur ses origines127.
Cependant, cette question ne porte absolument pas a consequence pour Ie
125. T.37, 1753, k.1, p.246b13; SSZ 1, p.443. Sans fairele lien avec Shandao, PAS
traduit: light as feathers [if] without faith (p. 146). Mais shinge *:9'l- est une
abreviation pour jisshin gebon l'expression plume legere evoquant
l'instabilite des bodhisattva des premiers degres (cf. T.32, 1680, p.759b22);
corriger ANDREWS (1993), n.20. Sur la carriere des bodhisattva, v. DUCOR,
Amidakyo, n. 39.
126. V.les notes exhaustives de LAMOTTE: La critique d'interpretation, et du meme:
Traite 1, p. 536, n. 1.
127. FUJITA Kotatsu (v. biblio.); YAMADA,p. xvii ss.; PAS,p. 36 ss; TANAKA,p. 38-40;
H. 7, p. 1000ab; BLUM (1985), p. 131-134.
conunentateur bouddhique. Car si Ie recours a la lettre des textes qui
contiennent la doctrine est legitime, il cede Ie pas devant un deuxieme
recours, celui du sens (gi profond vehicule derriere les mots (go
m)J28. C'est, d'ailleurs, un argument qui sera utilise par Shandao contre
ses adversaires; auxquels il reproche de lire Ie texte (man X) sans en
scruter Ie principe (ri :f:IY
Lui-meme, au contraire, prendra un soin tout
particulier a degager la logique interne du texte du siitra pour en degager
Ie sens (cf plus bas, p.131-133). Par ailleurs, ce dernier est a chercher
dans les siitra precis et non dans ceux de sens a determiner: c'est Ie
troisieme recours. Pour Shandao, il est evident que Ie Sutra des contempla-
tions est preche par Ie Buddha lui-meme (butsu jisetsu fiJt et qu'il
constitue donc un enseignement precis (ryo-kyo 7qJc)J30. Enfin, quatrieme
recours, Ie sens cache derriere la lettre est a deduire non pas tant par la
connaissance discriminative que par la sagesse (chi laquelle
n'est accessible que par la pratique. Or, ne l'oublions pas, Shandao est un
pratiquant. En atteste la postface de son Commentaire, ou l'on voit comment
il pouvait reciter journellement trois fois ou dix fois Ie Sutra cf Am ida et
reciter trente mille nembutsu pour se voir confrrrner dans son interpretation
grace a differentes apparitions. C'est ainsi que, selon son propre temoi-
gnage, il con<;ut l' economie (gimon du Commentaire apres avoir
vu la Terre Pure, tandis que Ie materiel de sa premiere section, Ie Xuanyi-fen
(jap. Gengi-bun), lui fut transmis par un religieux qui lui apparaissait
chaque nuit comme dans un reve 131. Shandao se sent donc parfaitement
libre d'utiliser la lettre des Ecritures canoniques comme tremplin, comme
pre-texte, a sa propre penetration de 1'enseignement du Buddha. Et s'il ne
menage pas les textes, il se sent encore moins soumis a l' autorite humaine
de ses predecesseurs: il ne cite quasirnentjamais les oeuvres des auteurs
chinois, a commencer par son propre maitre Daochuo, dont l' oeuvre, qui
1'a pourtant fortement influence, n'est mentionnee nulle part dans son
Commentaire. L'autorite naturelle de Shandao lui vient bien de sa propre
experience, puisqu'il etait repute avoir atteint Ie samiidM
, et plus
128. Cf. DEMrEVILLE, Concile, p. 147, n. 1.
129. T.37, 1753, k.1, p. 251a12-13; SSZ 1, p.460.
130. T. 37,1753, k.1, p. 247a25; k. 2, p. 271b20-21; SSZ 1, p. 446,535.
131. T.37, 1753, k.4, p.278bc; SSZ 1, p.559-560; cite in SCS, conclusion. Cf.
lNAGAKI (1994), p. 49-50.
132. Honen, Les dix vertus de Shandao, in Ryoe: T. 83,2611, k. 9, p.161a4-6; SSZ
4, p. 500; GIRARD, p.lx. Cf. CHAPPELL (1996, p. 165): because of bis meditative
trances and visualization experience he [Shandao] spoke with the personal power
JIABS 22.1 128
particulierement Ie samadhi du nembutsu (nembutsu zammai
dont on sait qu'il permet non seulement de voir Ie Buddha mais aussi
d'entendre sa voix
C'est ce qui autorise egalement Shandao a affirmer
tranquillement dans les ultimes lignes de son texte:
Que celui qui desire Ie copier kfasse entierement comme d'un siitra! Que cela
soit SU!134
Des lors, on n'est pas etonne qu'en Chine meme, Shandao sera deja
considere comme un corps de transformation du Buddha Amida (Amida
Puisque nous avons evoque la methodologie de Shandao, reveno.ns sur
celle de PAS. Celui-ei, et ron ne peut que s'en feliciter, s'efforce de
presenter l'oeuvre de Shandao a travers les sources originales:
With the hope that old stereotypes will be dropped, this book lets the Chinese
texts speak for themselves. (4e de couverture)
It is necessary to return to the source, Shan-tao's own words as found in the
Chinese Tripitaka texts, and make a renewed examination of what he wanted to
say. (p. xi)
Mais teln' est plus Ie cas des lors que PAS critique I' interpretation japonaise
de la pensee de Shandao. Cette critique constitue pourtant Ie point fort du
livre de PAS, son apport Ie plus original: elle oriente entierement l' ouvrage,
quitte a Ie situer a contre-courant de toutes les opinions admises
. Mais
au lieu d'une argumentation developpee et solidement etayee par les
sources japonaises originales, PAS se contente iei de brefs commentaires
recourant a des references de seconde main, ainsi qu'il1'indique lui-meme:
I have drawn my conclusions in this part on Western-language discussions of
this topic, among which there are several English publications by North American
scholars [ ... ] and by Japanese scholars [ ... ]. I trust that their interpretations of
what Japanese Pure Land Buddhism stands for can be rightfully accepted as
sufficiently autoritative for my purpose. (p. 320, n. 40)
of someone who had encountered Amitabha and the Pure Land as a living
133. LAMOTTE, Traite 4, p.1927-1928, 1987.
134. T. 37, 1753, k. 4, p. 278c25-26; SSZ 1, p. 560. Cite in SCS, conclusion.
135. T.47, 1970, k. 5, p. 267a5. Cite par Honen, in Ryoe: T. 83,2611, k. 9, p. 159b5;
SSZ 4, p. 494. Cf. PAS, p. 104.
136. Comme celie, encore recente, de CHAPPELL (1996, p. 162) : Of course, Shandao's
most famous contribution probably is his list of five right practices among
which vocal recitation of the Buddha's name is singled out as the most important,
indeed as the 'only right and determining action'.
Ce choix et son usage se n!velent cependant mediocres, ainsi que nous
avons deja pu Ie constater lorsque PAS cite ELIOT ou YAMAMOTO (plus
haut, p.96 et 107), et comme on peut encore Ie voir dans les quelques
lignes consacrees a sa refutation de Honen. Celle-ci se fonde, notamment,
sur Ia position du maitre japonais a propos de l'attitude mentale
accompagnant Ia recitation du nembutsu, PAS affirmant:
Honen blurred Shan-tao's teaching about the threefold mind. The latter attached
extreme importance to these mental conditions. (p. 322)
lci, au moins, PAS aurait dfi se referer a l' oeuvre majeure de Honen, Ie
Senchaku-shil, d'ailleurs rMige en chinois. En effet, bien loin d'y
estompeD> l' enseignement de Shandao, Honen insiste tout autant que ce
dernier sur I'importance de Ia disposition mentale incluse dans Ie nembutsu
jaculatoire. Ceia apparait dans un chapitre precisement intitule Que Ies
pratiquants du nembutsu doivent necessairement etre pourvus des trois
coeurs, dont Ies neuf dixiemes sont simplement consacres a citer
: c'est dire que l'attitude mentale telle qU'elle est decrite par ce
dernier parait suffisamment claire et evidente aux yeux de Honen, lequel
Ces trois coeurs sont essentiels (shiyo . . ~ ) pour Ie pratiquant. [ ... ] Celui qui
desire naitre en Bonheur-Supreme doit etre entierement pourvu des trois coeurs.
Certes, Ie Senchaku-shil ne presente pas de developpements personnels et
novateurs sur Ies trois coeurs, et cette question n' est abordee qu' a son
huitieme chapitre. Cela explique vraisembiablement pourquoi, du vivant
meme de Honen, certains de ses detracteurs, dont Myoe, croyaient
necessaire de rappeler qu'a leurs yeux, la prononciation du nom est
subordonnee a l'attitude mentale qu'est la foi
Mais cela se justifie de
par la nature doctrinale du Senchaku-shil, destine avant tout a degager Ie
nembutsu jaculatoire de la gangue des pratiques meditatives dont l' enrobait
la doctrine du Tendai. Par contre, les autres ecrits de Honen, notamment
ceux en japonais, dont ses lettres ainsi que les comptes rendus de ses
sermons a ses nombreux disciples, religieux ou lalcs, montrent a quel
point son enseignement personnel insistait sur l'assurance (anjin :'teIL\)
de la foi comme composante integrale du nembutsu jaculatoire,
accompagnant sa mise en pratique (kigyo IEQfi) sous la forme de la
137. SCS, ch. 8: T. 83,2608, p. 9c-12b; SSZ 1, p. 957-967.
138. Ibid. T. 83, p. 12a28, b2-3; SSZ 1, p. 966. Cf. DE LUBAC, p. 172 et n.4l.
139. Cf. Myoe, Zaijarin, k. 1: Nstk. 15, p. 329b; k. 2, id.: p. 359a.
JIABS 22.1 130
prononciation du nom 140. Honen y repond meme a certaines questions
que Ie maltre'chinois n'avait fait qu'effleurer. Telest notamment Ie cas
du rapport entre la foi et la pratique, a propos duquel Honen.declare:
Si quelqu'un dit Ie nembutsu en pensant que cela Ie fera naitre dans la Terre
Pure, c'est qu'il doit etre pourvu des trois coeurs par Ie fait meme (jinen
M).141 '
Ce faisant, Ie maitre japonais se situe dans la droite ligne du commentaire
de Shandao sur Ie nembutsu in articulo morti (plus haut, p.119-120).
Car pour Honen, Ie fait de prononcer Ie nom d' Amida, qui constitue la
mise en pratique du nembutsu jaculatoire, implique tout natureUement
cette assurance qu'est la foi dans Ie voeu de ce buddha. Or, nous avons
vu a propos de ce voeu que Shandao Ie paraphrasait sans enumerer ses
trois dispositions mentales (plus haut, p.112), et, a un interlocuteur qui
s' en etonnait, Honen expliquera:
Savoir que les etres iront necessairement naitre dans la Terre Pure par Ie nembutsu
jaculatoire (shonen c'est etre pourvu des trois coeurs (sanshin par
Ie fait-meme (jinen M). C'est pour devoiler ce principe qu'il [Shandao] les
abrege et ne Ies comrnente pas.
La pensee de Shandao est particulierement concise en cette matiere, et
Honen n'a que plus de merite a en degager l'interpenetration des trois
coeurs ainsi que leur correlation avec la prononciation du nom:
Prendre refuge unilateralement [dans Ie voeu du Buddha Arnida], c'est Ie coeur
sincere (shijo-shin). Ne pas avoir de doute, c'est Ie coeur profond (jinshin).
Penser que cela no us fera naitre dans la Terre Pure, c'est Ie coeur du transfert
(eko-shin). Par consequent, pratiquer Ie nembutsu unilateralement, sans entretenir
de doute, mais en pensant que cela nous fera aller naitre dans la Terre Pure,
c'est les trois coeurs pourvus de la pratique (gyo-gu sanshin fJ
140. V. notamrnent in Ry6e: T. 83,2611, k. 12, p. 190a12 ss., 195c25 SS.; 2612, k. 2,
p. 258c6 sS., 261b6 sS.; SSZ 4, p. 605,612,750,758. Cf. Shunj6, p. 414.
141. In Shinran: T. 83, 2674, k. 3a, p. 886a35, cf. p. 895c10; SSZ 4, p. 188, cf. p. 218.
V. Shunj6, p. 398, 405-406.
142. Genchi: T. 83,2612, k 2, p. 24Ic3-5; SSZ 4, p. 697. Ry6e: T. 83,2611, k. 15,
p. 235c14-19; SSZ 4, p. 676.
143. Genchi: T. 83, 2612, k. 2, p. 256c19-23; SSZ 4, p. 744.
10. L'economie du satra selon Shandao
D'une maniere plus fondamentale, il apparalt que Ie regard porte par PAS
sur Ie Commentaire de Shandao est fausse par un a priori determinant.
Pour PAS, Ie Satra des contemplations est un manual of vision quest:
how to obtain a vision of this Buddha Amita in this life (p.x; cf. p. xiii,
51), et l'interpretation de Shandao ne peut qU'aller dans Ie meme sens.
En quelque sorte, PAS ne lit pas Ie Commentaire de Shandao pour lui-meme,
ni en relation avec Ie reste de l' oeuvre du maitre chinois, mais uniquement
a la seule lumiere de la lettre du Satra des contemplations. C' est ce
presuppose qui va orienter l' ensemble de la lecture de Shandao proposee
par PAS, ce dernier justifiant son opinion par Ie choix meme du texte sur
lequel porte Ie Commentaire de Shandao:
If he [Shan"tao] wanted to propagate an attitude of faith resulting only in the
practice of nienjo, he should have chosen the Sukhavatf-sutras, especially the
Longer Version, with its emphasis on the original vows of Amita. The bare fact
that he preferred the Kuan-ching shows that in it he discovered something more
substantial and more essential than name invocation. (p. 133-134)
Or, ce n'est pas parce que Shandao a choisi de commenter Ie Satra des
contemplations que sa doctrine constitue une apologie du nembutsu con-
templatif avec sa vision de la Terre Pure. Tout au contraire, l' apport
essentiel de Shandao consiste bien a avoir degage Ie nembutsu jaculatoire
menant a la naissance dans la Terre Pure a partir d'un texte dont la plus
grande partie preconise les pratiques meditatives. A cet egard, la reelle
originalite de Shandao apparalt dans son traitement de l'economie du
siitra, qui va lui permettre d' en definir une logique interne justifiant son
C'est precisement l'absence d'une analyse fouillee de ce traitement qui
va hypothequer l'approche de PAS. Car son recours au texte chinois
original, pour legitime et meme indispensable qu'il soit, n'est pas suffisant
en lui-meme. S'agissant du commentaire d'un maitre bouddhique chinois
comme Shandao, PAS aurait aussi dft tenir compte des regles hermeneu-
tiques utilisees par ce dernier dans sa composition: c' est cette methode
endogene qui permet de parvenir au niveau d'empathie necessaire 1:1
une reelle intelligence du texte. C'est elle aussi qui montre que l'interpreta-
tion de Honen n'avait rien d'arbitraire, comme nous allons Ie voir.
Shandao divise son Commentaire en quatre livres principaux, corres-
pondant 1:1 autant de volumes, ou rouleaux (kan ::fF). Le premier s'intitule
De la signification profonde (Xuanyijen / Gengi-bun % ~ :51): a travers
diverses considerations (ryoken flfY.i), Shandao y presente, notamment,
JIABS 22.1 132
Ie plan general. de son ouvrage ainsi que les grandes lignes de son inter-
pretation, y compris, precisement, des elements essentiels de son economie,
que Ie lecteur ne saurait ignorer. Les trois autres livres constituent un
commentaire suivi du texte meme du siltra (e man shaku gi Ie
deuxieme livre, Du prologue (Xufen-yi / labun-gi s'ouvre par
un plan en cinq points, couvrant tout Ie reste du commentaire
; Ie troisieme
livre, Des boones actions recueillies (Dingshan-yi / lozen-gi
est consacre aux treize premieres methodes exposees par Ie siltra, qui
recourent toutes aux diverses ressources de la meditation; enfin, Ie
quatrieme livre, Des boones actions dispersees (Sanshan-yi / San!-en-gi
traite des trois dernieres methodes, subdivisees en neuf classes
(kuban :fL8b), qui ne necessitent pas Ie recueillement des meditations,
ainsi que de la conclusion du siltra. Or, c' est dans ce quatrieme livre que
Shandao est amene a definir l'acte fixant dans Ie vrai (ef plus haut,
p.105 et 114), ce qui soustrait deja ce dernier a une interpretation
contemplative du nembutsu, laquelle aurait dil figurer, Ie cas echeant,
dans Ie troisieme livre. Bien plus, des Ie premier livre de son Cammentaire,
Shandao previent deja que les treize methodes meditatives du troisieme
livre sont toutes des moyens habiIes (hOben 145. Ce jugement,
ignore de PAS, est capital: en tant que moyen habiles, ces meditations ne
constituent que des succedanes et ne sauraient representer l' acte fixant
dans Ie vrai prone par Shandao, qui, nous l' avons vu, les classe comme
actes auxiliaires parmi les cinq pratiques principales. Cette minimisation
du contenu du troisieme livre est d'ailleurs accentuee par Shandao lorsque
celui-ci souligne, en trois endroits differents, que la partie correspondante
du siltra n'est enseignee par Ie Buddha qu'a la demande reiteree de la
reine VaidehI, alors que la partie sur les pratiques non-meditatives est
prechee de la propre initiative du Buddha (butsu ji kai 15tl 1m, ou butsu
ji setsu 15tl Est-il besoin d'insister sur la difference d'importance
144. PAS (p. 120) juge qu'il fait preuve d' inconsistency parce que seulle premier
point est discute dans ce deuxieme volume. En fait, la division en volumes ne
releve pas de l' economie du texte mais de considerations pratiques liees au
format des rouleaux chinois. Le Jobungi se trouve dans la suite du vol. 2, tandis
que Ie vol. 3 et Ie vol. 4 sont consacres respectivement au Jozengi et au Sanzengi
avec la conclusion (cf. Ie plan du Commentaire, plus bas, p. 153-155).
145. T.37, 1753, k.l, p. 251b22-23; SSZ 1, p. 461.
146. T.37, 1753, k.l, p. 247b4, cll-14; k.4, p. 277c4-6. SSZ 1, p. 446,448,556 (cf.
T.47, 1981, p. 455c28; SSZ I, p. 726); v. TANAKA, p. 98-99. PAS ne mentionne
que la deuxieme de ces references (p. 47, n.70: p.347 [sic], c11-14).
qui, des lors, s'etablit spontanement entre ces deux parties du sutra?
Enfin, un argument interne confirme que Ie nembutsu jaculatoire
constituait l'une des principales, sinon la principale, preoccupation du
Commentaire. n se situe dans Ie premier livre de ce dernier, ou Shandao
refute l'interpretation de l'ecole du Shelun : toute l'argumentation
porte, en effet, sur la celebration du Buddha en dix prononciations
(jissM sM butsu +5lfi#fl), telle qu'elle apparait dans la derniere des
neuf classes de naissance exposees dans Ie Sutra des contemplations

C'est aussi a travers l'analyse de l'economie du sutra proposee par
Shandao que Honen lui-meme trouvera une confirmation de son inter-
pretation jaculatoire du nembutsu, plus precisement dans la partie de la
transmission (ruzu-bun mtJm0-), vers la fin du Sutra des contemplations.
Les commentaires de Shandao sur ce passage ne sont pas abordes par
PAS. Or, bien que cette partie du sutra puisse paraitre relativement negli-
geable en comparaison de celle de sa these principale (sMshu-bun lE*
0-), elle n'en est pas moins revelatrice, retroactivement, de toute l'orienta-
tion du texte. Dans cette partie de la transmission du Satra des contempla-
tions, celui-ci est confie a Ananda par Ie Buddha, qui lui declare:
Garde (ji :f<if) bien ces paroles! Garder ces paroles, c'est garder Ie nom (ji my a
:f<if:::i5) du Buddha Vie-Infinie. 148
Sur ce bref passage, Shandao apporte Ie commentaire suivant, crucial aux
yeux de Honen:
[Ce passage] montre bien Ie depot (juzoku [a Auanda] du nom de 'Mida
(Mida myogo 5fflWE:::i5lJJn) et sa transmission aux generations lointaines. Jusque
la, [Ie Buddha Sakyamuni] avait expose les bienfaits des deux sortes de methodes
recueillies [methodes 1-13] et dispersees [methodes 14-16]; mais du point de
vue du voeu originel du Buddha [Amida], [ce sutra] consiste 11 ce que les etres
vivants, uniquement et exc1usivement, prononcent (sho fill-) Ie nom du Buddha
A lui seul, un tel passage me semble decidement contredire Ie livre de
PAS lorsque celui-ci formule ce jugement, qui ne figurait pas dans sa
147. T.37, 1753, k.l, p. 249c10-250blO; SSZ 1, p. 455-457. L'ecole du Shelun pro-
posait une interpretation diachronique (betsuji 53iJffif) du nembutsu; v. LAMOTIE,
La SQmme du Grand Whicuie, 2, p.130; DEMIEVILLE, Yogacarabhumi, p. 389-
391. Cf. PAS, p. 291-296.
148. T.12, 365, p. 346bI5-16; SSZ 1, p. 66.
149. T.37, 1753, k. 4, p. 278a23-26; SSZ 1, p. 558; cite in SCS, ch. 4 et 12.
JIABS 22.1 134
The oral invocation is [ ... ], in contrast with the two Great Gates [les methodes
recueillies et dispersees], merely the back door to SukhavatI. (p. 275; cf. p.
338,277, 162)
Pour Honen, au contraire, ces propos de Shandao constituent la veritable
clef de tout son Commentaire, car ils prouvent que, selon lui, Ie SiUra des
contemplations dOlt etre lu ala lumiere du Satra de Vie-Infinie. Conune
les voeux de ce dernier, et en depit de son titre, Ie Satra des contemplations
exorte donc, selon Shandao, a la pratique du nembutsu jaculatoire de la
Terre Pure. Honen l'a S1 bien vu qu'il va justifier la fondation de sa
propre Ecole a travers ce meme passage de Shandao, ainsi que Ie rapporte
l'anecdote suivante:
Un religieux du Mont [Hiei] vint me trouver pour me demander: J'ai appris
que vous avez fonde une Ecole de la Terre Pure (Jodo-shU ffii-*)? Je repondis:
Qui. n me demanda encore: Sur que1 sutra ou traite vous fondez-vous? Je
lui repondis: Ie me fonde sur Ie commentaire a propos du depot dans Ie
Commentaire du Satra des contemplations de Shandao. Ce religieux me retorqua:
Comment?! Vous fondez votre doctrine (shagi sur un seul passage
seulement?! Souriant, je ne repondis pas. 150
Mais ce commentaire de Shandao appelle encore quelques remarques.
Tout d' abord, on relevera qu' a l'image de sa paraphrase du voeu d' Amida
citee plus haut (p. 110), Shandao ne parle iei ni de commemoration
jaculatoire (shanen ni, moins encore, de commemoration contem-
plative (kannen mais seulement de prononcer (sha m) Ie nom
du Buddha. En outre, on remarquera la synthese originale entre les siitra
de la Terre Pure qu'inspire a Shandao ce passage du Satra des contempla-
tions. D'une part, en evoquant dans son Commentaire Ie voeu d' Amida,
Shandao etablit une passerelle entre Ie Satra des contemplations et Ie
Satra deVie-Infinie. D'autre part, s'il considere que la garde du nom
(ji my a mentionnee dans Ie Satra des contemplations consiste a Ie
prononcer, Shandao appliquera aussi cette identification a son interpretation
de la garde du nom (shaji myaga apparaissant dans Ie Satra
d'Amida (plus haut, p.110).
Pour en revenir a la conception fondamentale que Shandao se fait du
Satra des contemplations, celle-ei ne doit pas surprendre. Car, des Ie
debut de son Commentaire, il se signale en declarant que ce siitra a pour
corps (tai R) :
150. Genchi, T.83, 2612, k. 1, p.242c18-22; SSZ 4, p.701. Shunjo, p. 164, 466.
Repondre en ne repondant pas est une figure bien connue de la rethorique
bouddhique; cf. LAMOTTE, TraUe 1, p. 158, n.2.
la naissance dans la Terre Pure (ojo tE1::) par [la production du] voeu et Ie
transfert [des merites] d'un coeur unique. lSI
On voit done que, des I' origine, la vision du buddha et de sa terre pure
fournie par Ie nembutsu contemplatif (kannen n'est pas, pour
Shandao, Ie message essentiel du sutra, all ant ainsi a l' encontre de tous
ses predecesseurs. Cette definition du corps du sutra ne manque d' ailleurs
pas d'embarasser PAS, qui la considere comme un logical artifact:
it would make more sense to say that the t'j or 'substance' of the Kuan-ching
consists in 'meditation' exercises [ ... ]. (p. 133)
Cependant, Shandao est constant dans son interpretation, qu'il resume
dans les termes suivants:
Ce sutra [ ... ] fait que celui qui cultive la voie, par la causalite de l'enseignement
et de la pratique, va naitre dans la Terre Pure (ojo tE1::) vehicule par Ie voeu
[d' Amida] et en realise Ie bonheur inconditionne de la Loi.ls2
. 11. La place du Satra des contemplations
Mais Shandao ne s'en tient pas la. II applique, en effet, son interpretation
jaculatoire du nembutsu non seulement au Satra des contemplations mais
aussi bien au Satra de Vie-Infinie qu'au Satra d'Amida: il degage ainsi
une doctrine commune a ces trois sutra, qu' il definit comme
l' obtention de la naissance dans la Terre Pure par la commemoration exclusive
du nom de 'Mida (sen nen Mida myogo toku shO
Ce faisant, Shandao apporte une double contribution essentielle a l'histoire
du bouddhisme de la Terre Pure: d'une part, il retire Ie Satra des contempla-
tions de ce groupe de sutra specialises reunis aujourd'hui sous Ie terme
generique de sutra contemplatifs (<<the guan ill. sutras) 15\ dont l'un de
prototypes etait Ie Satra du recueillement de la presence immediate
(Pratyutpanna-samiidhi-satra) 155; et, d' autre part, il lui donne sa place
151. T.37, 1753, k.l, p. 247aI9-20; SSZ 1, p.446. Cf. TANAKA, p.95. PAS, p.130
et 267, se contredit.
152. T.37, 1753, k.l, p. 247a9-1O; SSZ 1, p. 445.
153. T.37, 1753, k. 3, p. 268aI5-19; SSZ 1, p. 522; cf. PAS, p. 272-273.
154. Un peu artificiellement, la bouddhologie contemporaine met Ies Meditation
Sutras en opposition aux Wisdom SUtras des Prajfiiipiiramitii; cf. LAMOTTE,
TraUe 5, p.2267; NAKAMURA, Indian Buddhism, p.171-174; PAS, p.40-45;
YAMADA, p. xvi-xvii; RiJITA, p. 155 ss; Kuo Li-Ying, p.43-44.
155. T.13, 417 (td. INAGAKI 1989b) et 418 (td. HARRISON 1998). Sur ce SUlra et ses
differentes versions, cf. HARRISON (v. biblio.); NAKAMURA, op.cit., p. 159 et
JIABS 22.1 136
dans l'ensemble des sutra de la naissance dans la Terre Pure (ojo-kyo
aux cotes des deux autres principaux sutra que sont celui de
Vie-Infinie et celui d'Amida. On notera que l'expression <<sutra de la
naissance dans la Terre Pure semble bien avoir ete creee par Shandao
lui-meme. II 1'utilise une premiere fois dans les Cinq conditions, ou il
enumere six sutra de la naissance dans la Terre Pure (rokubu ojo-kyo
qui comprennent les trois principaux sfitras sus-nommes,
ainsi que Ie Satra du pratyutpanna-samadhi, Ie Satra des dix methodes de
la naissance dans la Terre Pure et Ie Satra du recueillement de la Terre
Shandao mentionne une seconde fois les sutra de la
dans la Terre Pure, dans sa definition des pratiques principales de son
Commentaire. Mais dans ce dernier cas, 1'expression ne designe plus que
les trois principaux sutras
, les trois autres se voyant dorenavant exc1us
des references de Shandao : ce dernier est Ie premier a etablir les trois
principaux sutra de la Terre Pure en un tel corpushomogene, dont Honen
devait heriter cinq siec1es plus tard.
Cette contribution essentielle de Shandao semble avoir echappe a PAS.
Ignorant, notamment, la syntMse operee par Shandao entre les trois sutra,
PAS va jusqu' a imaginer une bierarcbie entre Ie Sutra des contemplations
et Ie Sutra d' Amida justifiant, a ses yeux, son hypothese sur Ie double
standard de l' enseignement pratique du maitre chinois:
the Shorter Sutra was a handy instrument for Shan-tao to implement his policy
(upiiya) of gradual instruction and progress: then after a first call to conversion
and easy practice, he would introduce the Kuan-ching as a tool for further and
complete indoctrination. (p. 95; cf p. 319)
Au contraire, nous savons que Ie Petit Sutra, ou Satra d' Amida, occupait
une place essentielle tant dans la vie que dans l'oeuvre de Shandao. C'est
meme ace dernier que l' on doit 1'invention du titre Sutra d' Amida ,
pour mieux imposer ce texte, quitte a Ie debaptiser de son ancien titre de
Sutra du Buddha Vie-Infinie; et c'est precisement Ie Sutra d'Amida
172. LAMOTTE, Concentration, p. 67
68; Traite 4, p. 1927, n. 1; ibid. 5, p. 2266-
2269; DEMrEVILLE, Yogiiciirabhilmi, p. 353, n.2, et p. 436; DANTINNE, p. 115
en note; Kuo Li-Ying, p. 64, n.13.
156. Shandao: T. 47,1959, p. 24c6-9; SSZ 1, p. 626. Les deux derniers sUtra sont des
apocryphes conserves in Manji-zoku-z6!ry6 (Z. 87-4).
157. T.37, 1753, k. 4, p. 272bl; SSZ 1, p. 537; cf plus haut, p. 13. On fevisera donc
les propos de GOMEZ (1996, p.128), selon qui the grouping of these three
sutras as a canonical unit is a late development (most likely from the thirteenth-
century Japan>.
que Shandao choisira de diffuser a d'innombrables exemplaires
, un
choix que PAS ne manque pas de qualifier de rather surprising (p. 319).
D'autre part, la portee reelle de l'influence originelle du Satra de la
immediate sur Ie Satra des contemplations, essentielle pour
apprecier l' originalite de Shandao, n' a pas ete remarquee non plus par
PAS, ainsi qu'il apparait de son traitement d'un passage celebre du prologue
de notre sutra. II s'agit de l'episode OU Ie Buddha Sakyamuni fait voir a
Vaidehl toutes les terres de buddha dans les dix directions, amen ant la
reine a choisir celle du Buddha Amida. Le sutra poursuit alors de la
maniere suivante:
Le Buddha dec1ara a Vaidem: Vous etes des etres ordinaires (bombu fL:;k;),
aux facultes mentales mediocres: n'ayant pas encore obtenu l'oeil divin (tengen
VOllS ne pouvez contempler loin. Mais lesbuddha-tathagata ont differents
moyens-habiles (hOben 11 (j!) qui vous permettent de voir. Alors, Vaidem dit
au Buddha: Honore du Monde! Les gens comme moi voient maintenant ce
royaume grace au pouvoir du Buddha (butsu-riki {!Ill j])>>.159
Cependant, PAS propose l'interpretation suivante des paroles du Buddha:
Since you are but an ordinary person, ... without receiving the divine sight you
can not see ... But the Buddhas have special upiiyas which can make you obtain
divine sight, .... (p. 172)
Et PAS d' enchainer par ce commentaire:
That this exegis makes more sense is also clear from the final phrase [ ... ] I
[Vaidem] can now see, which means that the Buddha has granted her divine
sight. (ibid.)
En note 46, notre auteur refute de meme l' opinion de Paul DEMIEVILLE,
pour qui notre sutra specifie egalement que la reine Vaidehl peut voir la
Terre Pure sans posseder la vue divine16o, PAS precis ant encore: If one
argues that Vaidehl does not receive divine sight, but that the Buddha
makes her see, it becomes a discussion about words. Or, Ie texte du
sutra est clair: si VaidehI peut voir les terres pures des buddha, et notarnment
celIe d' Arnida, c' est precisement en depit du fait qu' elle ne beneficie pas
de l' oeil divin: de portee variable, celui-ci est une super-science (skr.
abhijfiii, jap. jinza accessible seulement par les pratiques accumulees
par les saints et les bodhisattva
, tandis que la reine n'est qu'un etre
158. Cf. DucoR, Amidakyo, p. 25, 117-118, 127-130.
159. T. 12, 365, p. 341c22-26; SSZ 1, p. 51.
160. DEMIEVILLE, Yogiiciirabhumi, p. 355, n. 1, infine.
161. Cf. LAMarrE, Traite 1, p. 527; 5, p. 2273-2274. L'oeil divin est aussi l'un des
JIABS 22.1 138
ordinaire. C' est donc bien Ie Buddha lui-meme qui recourt a un expedient
fourni par ses propres abhijfiii
pour faire exceptionnellement voir 11
VaidehI les terres de buddha: cela ne signifie pas pour autant qu'illa
gratifie de l' oeil divino Tel est du moins Ie raisonnement suivi par Shandao,
dont l'un des buts principaux est de montrer que Ie sutra s'adresse bien 11
des etres ordinaires, all ant ainsi directement a l' encontre des autres
commentateurs du sutra
nne s'agit donc pas d'une simple discussion sur les mots. D'autant que
Ie sutra s'inscrit ici dans une tradition venerable du Grand Vehicule
prechant la vision directe des buddha sans I' intermediaire des abhijfiii.
Or, comme Ie montrait DEMIEVILLE, cette tradition tenait precisement
ses Iettres de noblesse d'un passage fameux du Satra de La presence
Ce texte avait d'ailleurs joue un role de premier plan chez
les commentateurs chinois anterieurs a Shandao, y compris son propre
maitre Daochuo
En fait, il influencera profondement Shandao lui-meme,
du moins dans un premier temps. Son recours a ce sutra n'avait rien
d' etonnant puisque Ies treize premieres methodes recueillies du Satra
des contemplations assimilaient ceIui-ci a un sutra contemplatif du
meme type que Ie Satra de la presence immediate. En temoignent ainsi
ses Hymnes sur Ia naissance dans la Terre Pure par Ia circambulation du
pratyutpanna-samiidhi fondes sur Ie Satra des contemplations et autres 166.
De meme, Ie Satra de La presence immediate constitue I'une des principales
cinq yeux, sur lesquels v. DUCOR, AmidakyiJ, p. 83, n. 277. Sur les abhijfia, v.
ibid., p. 62, n. 164. Sur l'oeil divin en particulier: LAMOTTE, op. cit. , p. 330, 439;
5,2260 ss. DAYAL,p.llO-llL
162. On peut citer plus particulierement Ie premier d'entre eux, les pouvoirs
magiques (rddhi), et, parmi eux, celui de transformation (paril;amikf), qui lui
permet, notamment, de rendre visibles aux etres les terres de buddha (vidarsana).
V. LVP, Siddhi 2,p.792; LAMOTTE, Somme 2, p.221; DAYAL, p.113.
163. T. 37,1753, k. 2, p. 260c11-25; SSZ 1, p. 495. Cf. plus haut, p. 32.
164. op.cit.,p. 355, n. 1, etp. 357, n. 8. HARRISON 1978, p.43. LAMOTTE,
TraUe 4, p.I789, 1926-1927; 5, p.2267-2268; et Concentration, p.163, n.12l.
INAGAKI 1998, p. 51-52; T. 13,417, p.899a 18-20; 418, k.l, p.905a 23-24.
165. Notamrnent chez Huiyuan (334-416) et sa confrerie du Lotus Blanc; cf.
DEMIEVILLE, op.cit., p. 357-359; ZURCHER, p.204-253; LAMOTTE, TraUe 5,
p. 2270-2271; TANAKA, p. 13. Ce slitra se retrouve aussi dans Ie systeme Tiantai
des quatre samadhi de dont herita Genshin; v. ANDREWS
1973, p. 28, 76 ss.; HURWITZ,Chi-I,p. 319-327; STEVENSON 1986. Pour Daochuo,
v. T. 47, 1958, k. 2, p. 15a19 S8. (SSZ 1, p. 416).
166. T.47, 1981; SSZ 1, p. 684-727. Traduction INAGAKI (1989).
references de sa Methode de contemplation et de ses Cinq conditions, ou
Shandao l'utilise, notamment, pour expliquer que la vision de VaidehI est
rendue possible grace a trois pouvoirs (sanriki ;::::'fJ) du Buddha Arnida

Mills cette derriiere argumentation n'apparaitra plus dans son Commentaire
du Satra des contemplations, sa conception des deux siltra ayant evolue
d'une maniere deterrninante entre Ia composition de la Methode et des
Cinq conditions et celle de son Commentaire.
A l' origine, la Methode exposait successivement l' enseignement des
deux siltra: Ie Satra des contemplations pronerait Ie recueillement par la
contemplation du Buddha (kambutsu-zammai U{!lI3;::::.Il5K), tandis que Ie
Satra de la presence immediate preconiserait Ie recueillement par la comme-
moration du Buddha (nembutsu-zammai Par contre, Ie Com-
mentaire ignore purement et simplement ce demier texte pour se concentrer
sur Ie Satra des contemplations, dont Shandao defmit dorenavant Ie message
de la maniere suivante:
Ce Sutra des contemplations a pour these (shu *)169 Ie recueillement par Ia
contemplation du Buddha (kambutsu-zammai et il a aussi (yaku $)
pour these Ie recueillement par la commemoration du Buddha (nembutsuczammai

Pour PAS, cette solution is both eclectic and amusing (p. 132). En fait,
d'une maniere particulierement originale, Shandao fait ici la synthese
167. Soit Ie pouvoir de son voeu origineJ, celui de son recueillement et celui de ses
merites originels. Ces trois pouvoirs constituent la cause exteme de la vision,
qui se combine avec les conditions internes que sont les trois coeurs developpes
par VaidehI. Cf. Sutra de la presence immediate: T. 13, 417, p. 899b; INAGAKI
(1989), p.61 et n.27. Shandao, Cinq conditions: T.47, 1959, p.25c26-26al,
26c14-17; SSZ 1, p. 631,634; INAGAKI (1984), p. 26-27,30-31; cf. id. (1994),
168. T.47, 1959, p. 22b25-26; SSZ 1, p. 618; INAGAKI (1966), p. 4.
169. Etymologiquement, Ie mot shu * designe Ie temple ancestral, d'ou Ie double
sens d'une filiation de patriarches ('ancetres' en chinois) formant une ecole,
une secte, et des idees maitresses, des principes directeurs auxquels se rallie une
telle famille spirituelle (DEMIEVILLE, Entretiens de Lin-tsi, p.25; du meme,
cf. la note in Andre BAREAU, Trois Traites, JA 1954, p.238, n.2; Concile,
p. 100, n.2, etp. 151, n. 8). Dans Ie vocabulaire chinois de la logique bouddhique,
shu traduit these (skr. pratijfia). Dans un sens plus large, il rend aussi siddhanta
et se retrouve dans une expression comme celIe de la these principale (shoshu-
bun lE*:5t), soit Ie deuxieme membre de la tripartition hermeneutique des
sutra (sambunkakyo cf. DUCOR, Amidakyo, p. 45.
170. T. 37,1753, k.l, p. 247aI8-19; SSZ 1, p. 446; cite SCS, ch. 12. Cf. PAS, p.130-
132; TANAKA, p. 95.
JIABS 22.1 140
entre les theses des deux sutra pour les appliquer au seul Satra des
contemplations. Selon lUI, la premiere des deux methodes de ce dernier
est celle des bonnes actions recueillies (jozen conduisant a la
vision (ken 5[.) de la Triade d' Amida en la vie actuelle
Quant a la
seconde, elle n'est autre que la commemoration exclusive du nom du
Buddha 'Mida (sen nen Mida-butsu my a dont Ie resultat
consiste pour Ie pratiquant a ce que, en cette vie-meme,
AvalokiteSvara et Mahasthamaprapta Ie protegent en Ie suivant comme son
ombre, a 1'instar d'intimes arnis-de-bien. [00'] En quittant cette vie, il entre
aussit6t dans Ia maison des buddha, c'est-a-dire la Terre Pure. Y etant parvenu,
il entend longuement la Loi et fait des offrandes successivement raux buddha
des dix directions]: la cause etant parfaite, et Ie fruit acheve, comment sa place
sur l' aire de l' eveil serait -elle retardee?l72
C' est evidemment cette seconde methode qui se trouve privilegiee dans
Ie Commentaire de Shandao, comme nous l' avons vu.
En conclusion, l' evolution de sa comprehension du Satra des contem-
plations semble s' etre faite sous l'influence de deux sources. La premiere,
paradoxalement, est celle du Satra de la presence immediate; car si ce
sutra preconise surtout la methode permettant de voir les buddha sans
recourir aux abhijiiii, on y voit aussi Ie Buddha Amida en personne
affirmer la possibilite de la naissance dans sa Terre Pure par Ia comme-
moration de mon nom (nen ga my a La seconde source
d'influence, on 1'aura compris, est celle des deux autres sutra de la Terre
Pure, soit Ie Satra de Vie-Infinie, avec ses voeux, et Ie Satra cf Amida
avec son enseignement sur la garde du nom.
Mais revenons a ce passage du Satra des contemplations decrivant la
vision de VaidehI, car il est 1'objet d'un autre commentaire de PAS qu'il
conviendrait egalement de rectifier. Celui-ci se rapporte a une liste de dix
citations du sutra fournie par Shandao pour prouver que ce discours du
Buddha s'adresse a tous les etres ordinaires et meme a ceux qui vivront
apres la disparition de Sakyamuni 174. PAS s' etonne alors (p.290) de ne
pas y voir figurer cet extrait pourtant si explicite du sutra ou Ie Buddha
171. T.37, 1753, k. 4, p. 278a5-7; SSZ 1, p. 557.
172. T.37, 1753, k.4, p.278a19-22; SSZ 1, p.558 (cite in SCS, ch. 11). Cf. ibid.,
k. 3, p. 268a19-20; SSZ 1, p. 522. Et ibid. k. 1, p. 247alO-11; SSZ 1, p. 445.
173. T. 13, 417, p. 899 a29-bl; INAGAKI 1989b: 59. Passage cite par Shandao dans
saMethode:T.47, 1959, p. 24a20; SSZ 1, p. 624; INAGAKI 1966: 18. Cf. ANDREWS
1970: 24.
174. T. 37, 1753, k. 1, p. 249a29-c9; SSZ 1, p.453-455. Cf. TANAKA, p. 85-86.
dec1arait positivement a la reine qu'elle n'est qu'un etre ordinaire. Notre
auteur croit cependant en trouver une explication dans l'interpretation de
ce passage foumie par Ie Commentaire de Shandao175, qu'il traduit de la
The queen is an ordinary person and not a saint; because she is not a saint, she
puts her hope exclusively in the invisible help of the spiritual power [of the
Buddha]. Although she obtained a distant vision of that Land, this only means
that the Tathagata is afraid that sentient beings would foster delusions [if] he
said that the queen is a saint and not an ordinary person. If doubts arise, one
would become nervous and weak. However, in fact Vaideru is a Bodhisattva
and falsely manifests an ordinary body. We sinful persons, have no way to
compare [with her]. In order to dispel these doubts, therefore [the text] says:
You are an ordinary person. (p. 290-291)
Aux yeux de PAS, ce passage montrerait done que Shandao aurait cherche
un sens cache derriere la lettre explicite du sutra et qu'il considererait bel
et bien Vaidehi comme un bodhisattva. Cependant, PAS lui-meme admet
qu'une telle interpretation est, en regard de l'ensemble du traitement du
sutra par Shandao, not only doubtful, but also surprising [ ... ] Perhaps it
was a concession to those 'other teachers' like Hui-yuan and Chih-yi
(p.291). Mais Shandao ne cherche pas de sens cache dans Ie texte du
sutra: c'est bien PAS qui commet un contresens dans la traduction de ce
passage, delicat au demeurant, pour lequel je proposerais Ia version
La reine est un etre ordinaire, pas un saint. Puisqu'elle n'est pas un saint, si 1'on
y reflechit respecteuseusement (gyOi {fwlt), c'est par l'intervention mysterieuse
du pouvoir du Saint [Sakyamuni] (shO-riki JIlJJ) qu'elle peut voir ce royaume
[d' Amida] pourtant si eloigne. Ce [passage du sutra] montre que Ie Tathligata
craint que les etres s' installent dans 1'illusion et se disent: La reine est un saint
et non un etre ordinaire. A cause du doute produit, ils feraient eux-memes
naitre la pusillanimite [se disant]: Du fait que la reine est en realite un bodhisattva
manifestant provisoirement (ke -W) une forme ordinaire, nous, les etres remplis
de fautes, ne pouvons nous y comparer!. C'est pour trancher ce doute que [Ie
sutra] dit [clairement]: Vous etes des etres ordinaires.
Si ce fameux extrait du sutra n'a pas ete inc1u par Shandao dans sa liste
de citations, c'est tout simplement qu'il ne conceme que Ia seule Vaidem,
contemporaine du Buddha: en tant que tel, il ne pourrait etre utilise pour
prouver que Ie sutra, precisement, s'adresse aussi a tous les autres etres, y
compris apres la mort de Sakyamuni. Par ailleurs, confirmant, si besoin
etait, que Ia reine n'est qu'un etre ordinaire, Shandao montrera qu'elle
175. T.37, 1753, k. 2, p. 260cll-16; SSZ 1, p. 495.
JIABS 22.1 142
n'obtient l'endmance de Ia non-naissance qu'au debut de la 7e methode
contemplative exposee par Ie sutra, et encore: cela ne se fit qu'apres
l' apparitiondevant elle du Buddha Amida produite, Ia aussi, parJe pouvoir
du Saint (shO-riki ~ : f J ) , c'est-a-dire du Buddha176.
Quoi qu'il en soit, il apparait que I'un des buts de Shandao en choisissant
de commenter Ie Sutra des contemplations etait bel et bien de Ie placer a
part entiere dans Ie canon de la Terre Pure, et non plus dans les sutra
contemplatifs. Par ailleurs, Ie maitre chinois aura aussi choisi de consacrer
son oeuvre principale a ce texte parce que celui-ci etait Ie plus representatif
de l' enseignement de Ia Terre Pure parmi ses contemporains, a commen<;er
par son propre maitre Daochuo. Mieux que tout autre, ce sutra se pr@tait a
Ia polernique, et Shandao y trouvera matiere a refuter un certain nombre
d'interpretations anterieures qui lui paraissaient fausses 177. C' est d' ailleurs
Ie sens de sa postface, OU il declare:
I'ai voulu normaliser 1es Anciens et les Modernes (kaijo kokon mJEil4-) en
extrayant l' essence du Satra des contemplations. 178
12. Demiere objection
Une fois adrnis Ie choix du sutra a commenter, on peut egalement repondre
a une derniere objection de PAS: celui-ci considere comme inconcevable
(p. 271) que Shandao ait pu envisager une interpretation vocale du nembutsu
apres avoir cons acre de si longs developpements aux autres pratiques
enumerees par Ie sutra:
this would be, to say the least, a very surprising conclusion, and even a paradoxical
statement [ ... J. (p.245)
Or, la raison, la aussi, en est simple: elle tient au genre meme de l'ouvrage
qu'il s'est propose de composer, soit un commentaire suivi de type detaille
(sho WrtY79. Sans doute dicte par un souci de crdibilite, ce choix irnposait
a Shandao de commenter son texte dans Ie detail, sans se permettre d'en
176. T. 37, 1753, k.4, p. 251blO-17, 266al1-15, p. 277cl1-13; SSZ 1, p.461, 515,
177. Cf. TANAKA,p. 110. Sur ces polemiques, v. notamment PAS, p. 129-135, 151-157,
178. T. 37, 1753, k. 4, p. 278b24-25; SSZ 1, p. 559; cite in SCS, conclusion.
179. V. TANAKA, p. 58-61; cf. PAS, p. 116, n. 66.
sauter ou d'en abreger aucun passage, quitte - i1 faut bien l'admettre - a
lasser parfois son lecteur

Celui qui lit le Commentaire de Shandao en Occident, plus de mil trois
cents ans apres. sa redaction, pourrait souhaiter Ie voir s'exprimer de
maniere plus explicite et definitive sur la position exacte du nembutsu
jaculatoire dans son systeme. Mais ce serait oublier a quel point la pensee
de Shandao, telle qU'elle est formulee dans son oeuvre majeure, apparait
deja suffisamment revolutionnaire en comparaison de ses predecesseurs.
Cependant, que la prononciation du nom du Buddha Amida en ait forme
Ie coeur, c'est bien ce qu'en ont retenu ceux qui allaient se reclamer de
lui dans les siecles suivants.
13. La contribution de Honen
C' est a Honen que revient Ie merite d' avoir presente explicitement Ie
nembutsu jaculatoire comme la meilleure pratique et la seule necessaire,
en son temps, pour aller naitre dans la Terre Pure. Face aux attaques
lancees contre lui par les ecoles etablies, illui faudra justifier la necessite
de sa fondation d'une ecole independante (besshii tout en prouvant
qU'elle est bien pourvue des criteres constitutifs d'une ecole traditionnelle.
Car c'est un fait que l'enseignement de la Terre Pure (Jodo-kyo
etait repandu, peu ou prou, dans la plupart des ecoles bouddhiques, non
seulement au Japon de la fin du XIIe siecle
, mais deja sur Ie continent
chinois. Honen lui-meme en etait bien conscient, puisqu'il composa un
petit traite intitule Propedeutique de fa Terre Pure (Jodo-shogaku-shO
dans lequel il passe en revue les canons des ecoles bouddhi-
180. PAS fait ainsi remarquer: In several cases, no real commentary is offered, but
only a dry enumeration of material details (p.125; cf. p. 237).
181. Shunj6, p. 36-40; FUJIWARA, p.39-41, 145-150; ANDREWS 1973: 31-35; GIRA
1985: 3-59; SHIGEMATSU, p. 287-296; DE LUBAC, p.133-154; lNAGAKI 1994:
140-172; DOBBINS 1998; BOWRING.
182. In Ry6e : T. 83,2611, k.1O, p. 163c-167a; SSZ 4, p. 513-530. Les deux tiers de
l'ouvrage sont constitues par un Catalogue des sutras et commentaires des
ecoles (Shoshu-kyosho-mokuroku precieuse compilation de
bibliographies anterieures comprenant 193 titres, aussi pubJiee separement in
Dnbz. 95, 838, p. 23-25.
JIABS 22.1 144
ques japonaises 183 et chinoises
: les unes, conune Ie Kegon, ne se referent
pas du tout a 1'enseignement de la Terre Pure; les autres ne 1'ignorent
pas, mais elle n'y constitue qu'un enseignement secondaire. Pour Honen,
par exemple, les rituels du Shingon cons acres a Amida ne correspondent
qu'a une recitation de textes (dokuju wHffi), soit 1'une des cinq pratiques
principales classees par Shandao comme actes auxiliaires. Meme chez
Zhiyi, Ie fondateur du Tendai, Honen considere que la naissance dans 1&
Terre Pure ne constitue pas sa preoccupation principale (hon'i
Enfin, Honen ne manque pas de mentionrier les oeuvres de Yokan et de
Chinkai, ces deux maitres de l' ecole Sanron qui furent les au
Japon, a se referer a la definition par Shandao de 1'acte fixant dans Ie vrai
(el plus haut, p. 100); mais Honen de constater que leurs succeseurs
dans cette ecole leur ont tous toume Ie dos. Plus generalement, pour
Honen, la conclusion est claire: les erudits de ces ecoles ont tous toume
Ie dos a la doctrine du nembutsu (nembutsu homon d'ou la
necessite d'etablir l'enseignement de Shandao en une ecole independante
(el plus haut, p. 95).
Quant aux criteres traditionnels devant etre reunis par Honen pour
justifier son ecole
, ils etaient au nombre de quatre, soit: sa denomination
(shumyo sa lignee (sojo son canon (kyoten et sa
classification des enseignements (hangyo fli?ll:).
Honen doit tout d'abord prouver que la denomination de son ecole, soit
Ecole de la Terre Pure (Jodo-shu est bien attestee avant lui.
La question est forrnelle, la reponse Ie sera aussi, Honen se contentant de
citer quelques maitres chinois dans l' oeuvre desquels Ie mot shu * et bel
et bien applique a l'enseignement (kyo?ll:) de la Terre Pure
Sans doute
183. Soh les huit ecoles (hasshu j\*): Samon, Jojitsu, Kusha, Hosso, Shibun-Ristsu,
Kegon, Tendai et Shingon. Le Jojitsu etait devenu ecole Mbergee (gushu
*) du Samon en 806 deja, Ie Sanron lui-meme etant Mberge au Todaiji, temple
principal de l'ecole Kegon, en 875; de meme, Ie Kusha etait Mberge depuis 793
par Ie Hosso. Honen y ajoute l'ecole de la Discipline du Grand Vehicule (Daijo-
risshil **$*), en fait inc1use dans Ie Tendai.
184. Honen mentionne deux ecoles chinoises non transmises de maniere independante
au Japon: Jironshil (cf. T. 26,1522) et Shoronshil (T. 31,1593).
185. V. les deux articles importants d' ANDREWS publies en 1987 : Pure Land Buddhist
Hermeneutics et The Senchakushil in Japanese Religious History (v. biblio.).
186. SCS, ch. 1: T.83, 2608, p.lc9-16; SSZ 1, p.930. Honen cite T.47, 1965
(p. 119b20), 1964 (p. 11Oa22-23), et 1963 (k. 1, p. 8b8); sur les deux premiers,
cf. CHAPPELL (1977), p. 24, n. 4.
ces citations ne se referent qu'a une ecole dans Ie sens scolastique Ie plus
large du terme, mais Ie precedent lui suffit187.
Plus determinante est la question de Ia tradition magistrale et scripturaire.
De queUe lignee Honen pourrait-il se reclamer, lui qui est Ie premier,
depuis trois siecles, a fonder une ecole bouddhique au Japon, sans meme
avoir fait Ie voyage consecratoire de la Chine? Pour la forme, egalement,
son Senchaku-shu va fournir non pas une mais deux lignees. La premiere
n'est autre qu'une lignee de six maitres formulee par Daochuo
. Sans
preciser ses preferences, Honen y ajoute une seconde lignee, qu'il a
glanee dans les biographies chinoises; celle-ci comprend les maitres chinois
Shandao et Daochuo, ainsi que l'inspirateur de ce demier, Tanluan, et Ie
traducteur indien Bodhiruci, lequel avait converti Tanluan a l' enseignement
de la Terre Pure; les deux principaux successeurs de Shandao, Huaigan
(jap. Ekan, ?-?) et Shaokang dr m (Shako, ?_805)189 closent la liste.
Honen abandonnera ensuite la reference a Bodhiruci pour ne conserver
que les cinq maitres chinois, etablissant ainsi sa lignee des Cinq patriarches
de la Terre Pure (Jodo goso On notera que, par souci
d'independance, cette lignee ne mentionne aucun Japonais, pas meme
Genshin, qui appartenait a l' ecole du Tendai. Elle ne fait donc aucun lien
historique continu avec Honen, qui n'en a cure: en conformite avec les
principes de l'hermeneutique bouddhique, Honen ne croit pas a la valeur
d'une tradition magistrale garantie par l'anteriorite
. Tout comme Shan-
dao, Honen se fondera sur les Ecritures plut6t que sur les autorites humaines:
Les methodes pour expliquer les sens et les appelations different selon les
maitres dont on se reclame. Avec les siitra et Ies traites, on obtient Ie sens
187. Biles ne convaincront pas My6e, dont Ie Zaijarin declare qu'eiles ne designent
que des shu dans Ie sens faible (shoshu /J\*) - comme Ie mot principe
dans Ie language courant, ou celui de these du vocabulaire de la logique - et
non dans Ie sens fort d' ecole (daishu **) (k. 3; Nstk. 15, p. 383al0-b3).
188. T.47, 1958, k. 2, p.14bI3-18; SSZ 1, p.4l3. Cette liste comprend: Bodhiruci-
Huichong - Daochang J!l:;fj - Tanluan - Dahai *M -Fashang Cf.
CHAPPELL 1976: 71-78.
189. Huaigan a laisse un important traite en sept volumes (T. 47, 1960); v. FUJIWARA,
p.123-129; lNAGAKI (1994), p.115-117; Nishi (v. biblio.). De Shaokang, on
conserve une biographie des maitres de la Terre Pure (cf. Bskd. 1, p. 358cd).
190. SCS, ch. 1: T.83, 2608, p. 2c9-13; SSZ 1, p.934. V. H6nen, Compilation des
biographies des cinq patriarches de la Terre Pure, in Ry6e: T. 83, 2611, k. 9,
p. 154b-160c; SSZ 4, p. 477-499); cf. Shinran: T. 83,2674, k. lb, p. 860b-861c;
SSZ 4, p.105-110. V. aussi Shunj6, p. 190.
191. Cf. Shunj6, p. 161-162, 184.
JIABS 22.1 146
profond. Avec des maitres, il y a necessairement une lignee: de la bouche, on se
conforme au discours de sa tradition, mais, dans son coeur, nait une connaissance
assujettie. [ ... J En ce qui conceme l'ecole de la naissance dans la Terre Pure du
venerable Shandao (Zendo kasho nous avions
ici ses siitra et ses traites (siistra), mais il n'y avait personne pour les etudier;
bien qu'il y eut ses commentaires, on n'en avait pas fait l'eloge non plus. Ainsi,
cen'est ni un canon (ho #;;) avec une transmission continue, ni un principe (gi
.) transmis oralement de maitre a disciple.
Honen donnera donc une definition particulierement precise du canon sur
lequel il s'appuie, et qu'il definit comme etant trois siitra et un traite
(sangyo ichiron Les trois siitra ne sont autres que trois
siitra de la naissance dans la Terre Pure (ojo-kyo deja retenus
par Shandao, soit: Ie Satra de Vie-Infinie, Ie Satra des contemplations et
Ie Satra d'Amida, que Honen reunit formellement sous la designation
commune de Triple Siitra de la Terre Pure (lodo-sambu-kyo
Pour lui, c'est cela qui constitue Ie Siitra de reference principale de
la Terre Pure (lOdo shOe-kyo fIIE**!). Quant au traitt!, il s'agit
du TraUe de la Terre Pure de Vasubandhu (T. 26, 1524). Bien que ce
siistra ne joue pas un role essentiel dans la doctrine de Honen, sa presence
ici me semblepourtant se justifier du fait qu'il jette un pont entre Ie
Triple Siitra et Ie Commentaire de ce meme TraUe compose par Tanluan
(T.40, 1819) : de la sorte etait preserve Ie lien avec la tradition scripturaire
des maitres indiens, eux-meme absents de la lignee magistrale de Honen

Pour autant, il n'est pas question que ce dernier s'arrete a la lettre
morte du canon ainsi constitue :
C'est seulement en analysant !'idee du Buddha que j'ai penetre les Saintes
Ecritures. C'est en suivant celui qui a obtenu Ie samadhi, que je proc1ame une
parcelle du sens de la naissance dans la Terre Pure. [ ... J Bien que nous disposions
des commentaires, la lettre en est difficile a percevoir: sans rencontrer Shandao,
une connaissance assuree en serait difficile a produire [ ... ].195
L'ultime critere de Honen est donc celui de l'interiorite, et il trouve
confirmation de son interpretation chez celui qui a obtenu Ie samiidhi,
192. Commentaire au Siitra d'Amida, in Ry6e: T. 83, 2611, k. 3, p.132a7-10; SSZ
193. SCS, ch. 1: T. 83, 2608, p. 2al-7, 14-15; SSZ 1, p. 931-932. DUCOR, Amidakyo,
194. A remarquer que Ie Trait!! est aussi Ie seul texte, en dehors du Triple Siitra, Ii
etre cite par Shandao dans Ies trois derniers volumes de son Commentaire, Ia ou
il glose Ie texte meme du Satra des contemplations.
195. In Ry6e: T. 83, 2611, k. 3, p. 132alO-12; SSZ 4, p. 382. Cf. HIROKAWA, p.45-46.
c'est-a-dire Shandao lui-meme. A ses yeux, ce dernier avait uniquement
Ia doctrine de la Terre Pure pour doctrine (shu *), mais, en outre, il avait
obtenu Ie samiidhi
Et, de meme que Shandao avait vu son commentaire
coimrme par diverses apparitions, Honen aura l'heur de voir Shandao se
manifester a lui en reve: Ie maitre chinois lui apparut sous la forme d'un
religieux, dont la moitie superieure, jusqu'a la taille, avait toutes les
apparences d'un moine ordinaire, tandis que la moitie inferieure, de couleur
or, avait les marques d'un buddha
En s'identifiant, l'apparition lui
declara qu'elle etait venue afin d'attester de l'oeuvre accomplie par Honen
dans sa diffusion du nembutsu exclusif198. En outre, tout comme Shandao,
Ie fondateur de l' ecole Jodo au J apon avait lui aussi obtenu Ie recueillement
du samiidhi: bien qu'il ne Ie revela a ses disciples que deux semaines
avant sa mort, il avait, des 1198, experimente diverses visions, qu'il
consigna dans un Memoire sur l'obtention du samiidhi, retrouve apres
son deCeS
Enfin, quant a la classification des enseignements selon Honen, elle se
trouve resumee dans Ie fameux passage du Senchaku-shu dit de la Triple
selection (Sansen-mon
A Ia reflexion, si vous desirez quitter rapidement [Ie cycle des] naissances et
des morts, parmi les deux Lois excellentes, ecartez maintenant Ia doctrine de Ia
196. SCS, conclusion: T. 83, 2608, p. 19aI2-12-24; SSZ 1, p. 990. Cf. INAGAKI (1994),
197. C'est l'image de Shandao qui a ete retenue par l'iconographie japonaise. Cf.
OKAZAKI, p.17-18, 173.
198. Honen, Mukan shOso ki in Ryoe, T. 83,2612, k. 1, p. 239bc; SSZ
4, p. 689-690; traduction Banda p. 40-41, et GIRARD, p.Ivii-Iviii. Autre version:
Honen ShOnin gomuso ki in Shinran: T. 83, 2674, k. 2a,
p.867a20-b28; SSZ 4, p. 129-13l. V. aussi: Shi-nikki, T.83, 2674, k. 2b,
p. 876bll-18; SSZ 4, p.I58-I59. Selon cette derniere version, Shandao aurait
declare a Honen: Bien que tu en sois indigne, Ie developpement du nembutsu
remplit Ie monde. Parce que tu fais parvenir aux etres Ia pratique exclusive de Ia
prononciation du nom (shomyo), je suis venu ici. Je suis Shandao; corriger
GIRARD, p.lix; HARA, p.13; et ANDREWS I987a: n. 35. V. aussi Shunjo, p. 205-
199. Sammai hotokki Une version enjaponais est conservee in Shinran:
T. 83, 2674, k. 2a, p. 866b9-867aI9; SSZ 4, p.127-I29; traduction: KING, p. 131-
134. Une autre, en chinois, dite de Daigo (ll!I:l\iiJl;$:), est traduite par GIRARD
(p.Iv-Ivii), qui s'interroge sur les sources de ces visions (n.82-85): en fait,
celles-ci se fondent sur Ie Satra des contemplations et Ie Commentaire de
Shandao. Troisieme version, en chinois, in Ry5e: T. 83, 2612, k. 1, p. 239a9-b19;
SSZ 4, p. 687-689. V. KLEINE I996a: 185-187; Shunj5, p. 206-207,636.
nABS 22.1 148
voie des saints (sMdo-mon et choisissez d' entrer dans la doctrine de la
Terre Pure (jodo-mon
Si vous desirez entrer dans la doctrine de la Terre Pure, parmi les deux sortes
de pratiques principales et secondaires, vous devez abandonner malntenant toutes
les pratiques secondaires (zogyo et choisir de suivre les pratiques principales
Si vous desirez cultiver les pratiques principales, parmi l' acte [fixant dans Ie]
vrai et les actes auxiliaires, vous devez encore ecarter les actes auxiliaires (jo go
et choisir de vous consacrer exclusivement a celui fixant dans Ie vrai.
L'acte fixant dans Ie vrai (shojo shi go lEJEZ*), c'est prononcer Ie nom du
Buddha (sM butsu-myo flll.#Il15). La prononciation du nom vous fera necessaire-
ment naitre dans la Terre Pure, parce qu'elIe se fonde sur Ie voeu du
Buddha (e butsu hongan ko
La premiere de ces trois selections correspond a la fameuse classification
par laquelle Daochuo partage tous les enseignements bouddhiques
deux autres selections culminent avec Ie voeu originel du Satra de Vie-
Infinie et reproduisent, evidemment, la classification des pratiques propo-
sees par Shandao selon la lecture de Honen. L'apport personnel de ce
dernier, cependant, consiste a ecarter les actes auxiliaires pour souligner
la precellence (sho MJ) du nembutsu jaculatoire sur toutes les autres
et d' en tirer la conclusion la plus radicale qui soit :
Ce n'est que (yui PI) la seule pratique du nembutsu de la prononciation du nom
(sMmyo nembutsu qui est Ie voeu originel.
En d' autres termes, si, pour Shandao, Ie nembutsu jaculatoire est une
pratique suffisante (cf plus haut p.l2S), pour Honen il constitue la seule
necessaire, quitte a abandonner (hai toutes les autres pratiques

Telle est d' ailleurs la teneur principale de son Manifeste en une page
(Ichimai Kishi5mon qu'il dicta deux jours seulement avant
sa mort)
nne s'agit ni du nembutsu contemplatif defini par les savants de Chine et de
notre pays, ni du nembutsu fonde sur la realisation de son sens par l'etude: pour
alIer seulement naitre dans 'Supreme-Bonheur', je n'ai rien d'autre de special
que la pensee d'y aller naitre sans aucun doute en disant Narnu Amida Butsu.
200. SCS, conclusion: T. 83, 2608, p. 18c29-19a5; SSZ 1, p. 990.
201. Daochuo, T. 47, 1958, k 1, p. 4b3-19, 13c2-22; k 2, p. 18b15-16; SSZ 1, p. 378,
410,427-428. Cf. Honen, SCS, ch. 1: T. 83, 2608, p. 1b sS.; SSZ 1, p. 930 ss.
202. SCS, ch. 3: T. 83, 2608, p. 5cl-12; SSZ 1, p. 943-944.
203. Ibid.: ch. 3, T. 83, 2608, p. 6a9-1O; SSZ 1, p. 945.
204. Ibid.: ch. 4, p. 7a17-cl5; SSZ 1, p. 949-950. Cf. DE LUBAC, p. 170; HIROKAWA,
Quant aux trois coeurs et aux quatre types d.e pratiques))205, ils sont tous
inclus dans la pensee d'y alIer assurement naitre par Namu Arnida Butsu. En
dehors de cela, si je connaissais quelque chose de plus profond, je m' opposerais
it la compassion des deux Honores [Sakyamuni et Arnida] et j'echapperais au
Voeu Origine1.
14. Shandao, Honen et ['Ecole de la Terre Pure
II res sort ainsi qu'en definissant ses quatre criteres, Honen a bien etabli
au Japon une ecole a part entiere, Ie Jodo-shU ~ * 207. Pour autant, il
ne se considerait pas comme Ie fondateur d'une ecole nouvelle, mais,
bien plut6t, comme l'instaurateur au Japon de l'ecole de la Terre Pure de
Shandao (el plus haut, p.3). Mais peut-on reellement parler d' ecole
s'agissant du maitre chinois? Adversaire de Honen, Myoe est categorique:
Bien qu'il eut Ie nembutsu pour pratique, Shandao n'etablit pas une
ecole independante (besshU }3IJ*)>>208. Plus generalement, PAS considere
qu'il n'y avait alors pas de real school de la Terre Pure en Chine: It
would be more correct to call it a movement (p. 58) 209,
Sans doute, Shandao et Daochuo n' appartenaient-ils pas a une ecole
dans Ie sens precis que ce terme prendra plus tard au J apon. Par contre, la
pensee de Shandao se fonde sur une doctrine et un canon homogenes, qui
205. Shishu I I 9 f ~ : pratique reverentielle, pratique exclusive, pratique ininterrompue,
pratique it long terme. V. Shandao, T. 47,1980, p.439a7-23 (SSZ 1, p. 650-651);
Honen, SCS, ch. 9. Cf. ANDREWS 1973: 68-69.
206. SSZ 4, p.44. Cf. Ryoe, k5; T.83, 2611, p.236b28-cl7; SSZ 4, p.678-679.
COATES, p. 728-729; DUCOR, in The Pure Land 4.2 (Dec. 1982): 45-46; KLEINE
1996a: 93 sS.
207. Par contre, Honen n' a pas cree un nouvel ordre ecclesiastique, autre sens possible
du mot shu *, puisqu'il n'a pas amorce une nouvelle ligne d'ordination
independante de l'ecole du Tendai dans laquelle il avait ete ordonne. Cf. HARA,
n.4, qui distingue dans Ie mot shu Ie sens de school of thought and ideas et
de sect. ANDREWS (1987b: 482) enumere quatre sens dans l'evolution de ce
mot: scriptural traditioll, doctrinal schooh>, monastic ordeD> et sect; cf.
ibid. 1987a: 25, n. 8. V. KLEINE 1996a: 147 sS.; BLUM 1990: 52-60; DE LUBAC,
p.157. Enfin, REPP (n.1) parait trop large dans son acception du meme mot
lorsqu'il declare que, pour Honen, Jodo-shii ne signifiait que Pure Land Teaching
(oshie W:>.
208. Zaijarin, k. 3; Nstk. 15, p. 382b18.
209. STEVENSON (p. 362,366) parle aussi de Shanxi Pure Land movement it propos
de Shandao et Daochuo. Par contre, ANDREWS (1970, p. 40-44; 1973, p. 25 ss.)
utilise l'expression Sui-T'ang Pure Land schooh>; CHAPPELL (1977, p.24)
evoque aussi une school, dont l'origine remonterait it Daochuo.
JIABS 22.1 150
constituent bien un systeme. Et Daochuo avait conscience d'appartenir a
une ecole au moins dans Ie sens philosophique large du terme, qui implique
un ensemble de philosophes professant une meme doctrine,-ou du moins
admettant tous une certaine these philosophique consideree comme
capitale21O. Et c'est bien la clef de la demarche de Honen que d'avoir
reuni en une seule perspective, a cinq siec1es de distance, l' oeuvre de ses
deux predecesseurs chinois.
210. Andre LALANDE, Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie (Paris,
PDF, 1976), p. 260.
I. Chronologie des oeuvres de Shandao
La tradition a conserve cinq titres principaux composes par Shandao
qui regroupent, en fait, six ouvrages, soit :
Commeritaire du Sutra des contemplations (Kangyi5-sho; T. 37,
- Methode de contemplation (Kannenbi5mon; T. 47, 1959, p.22b-
Des cinq conditions souveraines (Goshu-zi5ji5en-gi; indus a la fin
du precedent: id., p. 24c5-30a)212,
Hyrnnes de liturgies (Hi5jisan; id., 1979),
Hyrnnes de louanges (Raisan; id., 1980),
Hyrnnes sur Ie pratyutpanna (Hanjusan; id., 1981).
Aucun de ces textes n'est date, et etablir une chronologie de leur redaction
respective tient donc de la gageure. Cependant, la critique interne permet
d'esquisser un certain ordre, qui n'est pas sans importance, puisqu'il
traduirait 1'evolution de la pensee de Shandao au cours de sa vie. PAS
(p.105, n. 3) adopte, sans commentaire, la theorie formulee par FUJIWARA
Ry6setsu, qui donne la chronologie suivante
Kannenbi5mon > Goshu-Zi5ji5en-gi > Hi5jisan > Hanjusan > Raisan >
Les arguments de FUJIWARA sont probants, etje ne peux que renvoyer a
son ouvrage. Pour l'essentiel, nous retiendrons que trois periodes princi-
pales peuvent etre distinguees dans l' oeuvre de Shandao. La premiere est
celle du Kannenbi5mon. Elle est suivie par une deuxieme periode compre-
nant Ie Goshu-zi5ji5en-gi, les Hi5jisan et les Hanjusan. La troisieme periode,
enfin, comprend les Raisan, suivis du Commentaire. Ces trois periodes
s' agencent, en fait, selon une depratyutpannisation graduelle de la pensee
de Shandao. Ainsi, Ie Pratyutpanna-samiidhi-sutra n'est cite que dans Ie
211. Pourles autres ouvrages -perdus, attribues ou fragmentaires, v. PAS, p. 112-116;
FUJIWARA, p. 70.
212. Les commentateurs designent parfois ces deux derniers titres sous les appelations
respectives de Sammai gyoso bun =.a;R1TtI3:51 et Goen kudoku bun
:51. Contrairement a PAS (p. 106),je ne vois pas de raison de douter de l'authenticite
des Cinq conditions.
213. FUJIWARA, p. 70-91.
JIABS 22.1 152
Kannenbomon etle Goshu-zoJoen-gi, tandis que Ie nom meme du recueille-
ment de Ia presence immediate (hanJu-zammai ::::P*) n' apparait
plus ni dans les Raisan ni dans Ie Commentaire (plus haut, p.48-52),
alors qu'il figure encore dans Ies trois ouvrages de Ia periode intermediaire.
La question la plus delicate demeure neanmoins celle de l' ordre de la
composition des trois livres constituant cette deuxieme periode. FUJIWARA
lui-meme est tres prudent dans son argumentation qui place Ies HanJusan
apres les Hojisan
Cependant, on ne peut exdure que Ie Goshu-zoJoen-gi
doive etre place plus tard dans cette periode, en raison notamment de
deux elements par Iesquels i1 prefigure la doctrine des Raisan et du
Commentaire. Le premier de ces elements est celui des paraphrases par
Shandao du 18e voeu d' Amida, lesqueIles n'apparaissent que dans Ie
Goshu-zoJoen-gi, les Raisan et Ie Commentaire. Le second element est
constitue par son interpretation du coeur profond du Sutra des
contemplations comme etant Ie coeur de foi. EIle apparait deja dans Ie
Goshu-zojoen-gi, avant que les Raisan ne la detaillent dans une glose, qui
trouvera elle-meme son achevement dans Ie Commentaire

II. Transmission des oeuvres de Shandao
La premiere mention d'une oeuvre de Shandao semble remonter au grand
bibliographe chinois Zhisheng (jap. ChisM, 668-740), qui cite
l'integralite des Raisan dans son li-zhujing-lizhan-yi (jap.
Shu-shokyo-raisan-gi); bien que ce dernier ne soit pas date, Zhisheng Ie
mentionne lui-meme en 730 dans son fameux catalogue
En 799, Ie
Shii-shokyo-raisan-gi sera indus officiellement dans Ie canon bouddhique
chinois, ce qui fait des Raisan la seule oeuvre de Shandao a avoir re<;:u ce
Par la suite, il faudra attendre l'epoque Song pour voir Ie
Commentaire et les Raisan de Shandao etre cites par les maitres chinois,
encore que Ie Commentaire n'ait apparemment circule que sous Ia forme
214. Cf. ibid. p. 91 : we feel that the Hanjusan may possibly be placed slightly later
than the Hojisan.
215. Cf. plus haut, respectivement p. 110, n. 72; et p. 113, n. 83.
216. V. respectivement: T. 47,1982, k 2, p.466 a-474 c; et T. 55, 2154, k. 17, p. 671b3
(cf. T.55, 2155, k.4, p.746b). Sur Zhisheng bibliographe, v. les eloges de
DEMrEVILLE, cites in DUCOR, Amidakyo, p. 205.
217. Cf. T. 55,2157, k. 24, p. 959a27-28. Le Shii-shokyo-raisan-gi sera ainsi publie
dans Ie canon careen de !'ere Koryo (1236-1251 ap. J.-C.), vol. 1026; K. 1087;
cf. T. 99, 22, p. lIla, nO 1094; Lancaster, p. 373ab.
du premier de ses quatre livres, Ie Gengi-bun218. Les oeuvres liturgiques
de Shandao sont cependant parvenues jusqu' a Dunhuang, OU l' on a retrouve
un manuscrit du 1er volume des Hojisan, ainsi que des fragments des
La date de la premiere introduction des oeuvres de Shandao dans
l'archipeljaponais est inconnue, mais elle est ancienne, car des copies en
sont attestees des Ie milieu du VIne siecle. En effet, les archives du
ShOsoin du TOdaiji mentionnent que l' ensemble des oeuvres du maitre
chinois fut copie a Nara entre 740 et 748 (ere Tempyo), a l'exception
notable du Kannenbomon

Une seconde vague d'introduction eut lieu pendant la periode Heian,
par l' entremise des pelerins japonais. C' est ainsi qu'Engyo l.iIi'T (799-852),
un religieux du Shingon qui voyagea en Chine de 838 a 839, en rapporta
Ie Kannenbomon ainsi que les Hanjusan et les Hojisan
De meme,
Ennin 1.i11= (794-864), Ie fameux religieux du Tendai qui voyagea en
Chine de 838 a 847, rapporta les Hojisan
11 passe pour etre l'auteur de
deux textes anciens de la liturgie du Tendai japonais, Ie Rituel regulier
(Reiji-sahO etle Rituel de confession du Lotus (Hokke-sempo
qui citent les Raisan, sans les nommer223. De meme, Ie Rituel
de confession de [la Terre Pure de] l'Ouest (SaihO-sangebo
d'auteur anonyme, utilise Ie Kannenbomon
Mais il faut attendre
1'an 985 et la Somme de Genshin pour voir des oeuvres de Shandao citees
pour la premiere fois dans un ouvrage doctrinal.
218. V. Zunshi J.t:r\ Gap. lunshiki, 946-1032), preface a SaihO ryakuden
Yuanzhao :7f;J\\'! (Ganjo, 1048-1116) : T.37, 1754, k.1, p. 280b22-23, 283a19,
passim, 285c2-3; k. 2, p. 290a14. liedu ilXtt (Kaido, ?-?), Kangyo fushinron #i:
(1178): Z. I, 33 (1), p. 1 vOa6-7, et Kangyo-gisho shokanki
(1181): Z. I, 33 (1), p. 11 V
a12-13, passim. Cf. OTANI, p. 353-356; Bskd. 2,
p. 203ab; Mbdj. 1, p. 785bc.
219. Pelliot 2066,2722,2963,3841; Stein 2553,2579,2659,5227; Bibliotheque de
Beijing 8350. Cf. Gentenban, II, p. 1466. V. aussi DUCOR, Amidakyo, p. 130.
220. ISHIDA, p. 9, qui renvoie aNihon ko-monjo J3 k. 7.
221. T. 55,2164, p. 1073a, 27 et 29; p. 1073b2.
222. T. 55,2167, p.1083b29.
223. T.77, 2417 et 2418. Cf. DuCOR, Amidakyo, p. 135, n. 501; Bskd. 11, p. 283a et
c; id. 10, p. 77c.
224. ANDREWS 1989: 27.
nABS 22.1 154
ill. Plan du Commentaire de Shandao
Volume 1 : Gengi-bun
Poeme du refuge dans les Trois Joyaux, T. 37, 1753, p. 245c111 SSZ I, p. 441
Plan general: p. 246al1/442
Partie A. Considerations, plan: p. 246a12 I 442
1. Prologue, p. 246al7 1442
2. Commentaire du titre, p. 246b17 1443
3. Distinctions entre les differences de theses et d'appartenance au Grand ou
au Petit Vehicule, p. 247a16 1446
4. Distinctions entre les predicateurs des Ecritures, p. 247a23 1446
5. Considerations sur les deux sortes de methodes recueillie et dispersee,
p.247a28 1446
6. Reconciliation des divergences entre sutra et traites, plan: p. 247c16/448
i. Comment les autres maitres comprennent les neuf classes, p.247c22 1
ii. Refutation par la raison, p. 248a8 I 449
iii. Refutation supplementaire par confrontation des neuf classes, p. 248b71
iv. Citations des textes prouvant que Ie sutra s'adresse aux etres ordinaires
et non aux saints, p. 249b91 453
v. Traitement de la doctrine diacbronique, p. 249c10 1455
vi. Traitement des deux categories d'etres ne naissant pas dans la Terre
Pure, p. 250b 11/457
7. Considerations sur les bienfaits obtenus par VaidehI, p. 251b8/461
- Conclusion de la Partie A, p. 251b27 1461
Volume 2: lobun-gi
Partie B. Commentaire du sens fonde sur la lettre, plan: p. 251c9 1463
- Comprend cinq divisions se repartissant en deux assemblees :
'a. Assemblee au Palais royal de Rajagrha, divisions 1-4
b. Assemblee au Mont des vautours, division 5
the division: Preface, plan: p. 251c25 1464
i. Preface attestant la credibilite, p. 251c27 I 464
ii. PrHace sur les circonstances, plan: p. 252a21/465
1. Prologue, p. 252b3 1465
2. Emprisonnement du pere [Bimbisara], p. 253a24/468
3. Emprisonnement de la mere [VaidehI], p. 255c1/477
4. Degout de la souffrance, p. 256c25 1481
5. Aspiration ala purete, p. 257c25 1485
6. Revelation des bonnes actions dispersees, p. 258c7 1487
7. Devoilement des contemplations des bonnes actions recueillies;
p. 260a29 1493
iii. Conclusion de la Preface, p. 261 a26 1 496
Volume 3: lozen-gi
2e division: These principale, preface: p. 261b5 /498
Seize methodes reparties en deux types de pratiques:
a) Les pratiques recueillies, exposees ala demande de VaidehI:
i. Contemplation du soleil, p. 261bll/498
ii. Contemplation de l'eau, p. 262b18 / 502
iii. Contemplation de la terre, p. 263c6 / 506
iv. Contemplation des arbres de joyaux, p. 264a22 / 508
v. Contemplation des etangs de joyaux, p. 264c27 / 510
vi. Contemplation des pavillons de joyaux, p. 265b20 / 513
vii. Contemplation du trone de lotus, p. 265c13 / 513
viii. Contemplation de l'image du Buddha, p. 267al /518
ix. Contemplation du vrai corps du Buddha, p. 267c20 / 521
x. Contemplation d'Avalokitesvara, p. 268b14 / 523
xi. Contemplation de Mahasthamaprapta, p. 168c20 / 524
xii. Contemplation generale, p. 269b22 / 527
xiii. Contemplation melangee, p. 269c10 / 528
- Hymne et conclusion des pratiques recueillies, p. 270a16 /
Volume 4: Sanzen-gi
b) Les pratiques dispersees, exposees de son propre chef par Ie
Buddha,plan: p. 270b13 /531
- Les trois actions meritoires, p. 270b15 / 531
- La pratique correcte des neuf classes:
xiv. Les adeptes superieurs, preface: p. 270c1 /532
a. Les etres superieurs de classe superieure, p. 270c17 / 532
b. Les etres moyens de classe superieure, p. 274a24 / 544
c. Les etres inferieurs de classe superieure, p. 274c8 / 546
d. Hymne et conclusion, p. 275al1 /547
xv. Les adeptes moyens, preface: p. 275a16 / 547
a. Les etres superieurs de classe moyenne, p. 274a26 / 548
b. Les etres moyens de classe moyenne, p. 274c4 / 549
c. Les etres inferieurs de classe moyenne, p. 275c29 / 550
d. Hymne et conclusion, p. 276a20 / 551
xvi. Les adeptes inferieurs, preface: p. 276a25 / 551
a. Les etres superieurs de classe inferieure, p. 276b5 / 551
b. Les etres moyens de classe inferieure, p. 277c17 / 553
c. Les etres inferieurs de classe inferieure, p. 277a12 / 554
d. Hymne et conclusion, p. 277b26 / 556
c) Conclusion de la These principale, p. 277c4 / 556
JIABS 22.1 156
3e division: Obtention des bienfaits, p. 277c7 1556
4e division: Transmission, plan: p. 277c26/557
a) Transmission tenue au Palais royal de Rajagrha, p. 277c27 1 557
Se division: Assemblee du Mont des vautours, plan: p. 278bll 558
b) Transmission tenue au Mont des vautours, p. 278b6/558
- Recapitulation du plan de la Partie E, p. 278b61 559
[Partie C.] Conclusion generale, p. 278bl3 1559
[Partie D.] Postface, p. 278b19/559
(en complement a DUCOR: Amidakyo, p.I77-206)
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1989a "Hanjusan : Hymns Praising Pure Land Birth by Explaining the
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Indian Philosophy and Buddhism: Essays in Honour of Professor
Kotatsu Fujita on His Sixtieth Birthday (Kyoto: Heirakuji shoten
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Central & East Asian Religions 8 (1995): 84-90.
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Three Bodhisattvapitaka Fragments from Tabo:
Observations on a West Tibetan Manuscript Tradition*
The three fragments of the Bodhisattvapi!aka (Rk, 12) examined in this
paper belong to the large collection of canonical Buddhist texts, later
incorporated into the bKa' 'gyur and bsTan 'gyur compendia, kept in the
monastic library of Tabo (Spiti). During the past five years, a number of
important studies dealing with the Tabo collection have been produced,
covering such diverse aspects as history, palaeography, codicology,
philology, text-criticism and art-history. Because a great deal was said
already about the general state of the collection, mainly by Paul
Harrison, Cristina Scherrer-Schaub, Ernst Steinkellner and Deborah
Klimburg-Salter, I shall not recapitulate here what is adequately covered
elsewhere, but limit my observations to issues that pertain to the three
fragments themselves.
The first Bodhisattvapi!aka fragment was discovered by Paul Harrison
during his stay at Tabo in 1993. Two more fragments came to light in
1995 while we were sifting through the dKon brtsegs bundle which had
been compiled during previous years. Both of them are significantly
shorter and show distinct characteristics, such as physical format and
orthographic style, that set them apart from the first discovery. It is
possible that some of the 106 Bodhisattvapi!aka folios found at Tabo
could, one day, reveal themselves to belong to a fourth, as yet unrecog-
nised, manuscript. This is particularly true for the folios that make up
Chapters Ten and Eleven, since they exhibit a number of paleographic
peculiarities thatare not shared by others. However, erring on the side
of caution, positive identification of them as a separate unit must wait
* The present study was made possible through the generous financial support of
the British Academy (London), which in 1995 provided me with a travel grant
covering all expenses incurred during my stay in Tabo. I would also like to
express my gratitude to Paul Harrison and Helmut Eimer who kindly read
through an early draft of this paper, pointing out errors, inspiring improvements
of analysis and guiding me through the intricate web of bKa' 'gyur genealogy.
Needless to say, I am solely responsible for all remaining mistakes that escaped
Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
Volume 22 Number 1.1999
JIABS 22.1 166
until we know more about the factors that influenced the production of
Tibetan manuscripts.
The Physical Evidence
Let us turn first to the physical description of the manuscripts. Follow-
ing the order of their discovery and respective lengths, I have labelled
them Bdp I (Tabo 9), Bdp II (Tabo 252) and Bdp III (Tabo 299).1
Bdp I (Tabo 9), the longest of the three manuscripts, is comprised of
84 folios, all of which are marked by the volume signature Ga. Most of
its folios are non-consecutive, distributed over a range of 207 p a g e ~ . The
beginning and end of the text are missing, but several chapter headings
have been preserved in the main body of the text. The physical support
of Bdp I is hemp paper of a yellowish-brown complexion which, al-
though a little coarse, provides a fine writing surface. The folios them-
selves (measuring 62cm x 19cm) accommodate ten lines of text, each
consisting of approximately fifty syllables, broken in the centre by two
binding-circles. Because of the large size of the letters, generous spacing
and a clear dbu can calligraphy, the text is very legible and contains
little orthographic ambiguity.
A number of scholars have already commented upon the orthographic
archaisms of the Tabo collection.
Since the calligraphy of Bdp I con-
forms largely to orthographic patterns observed elsewhere, it shall suf-
fice here to give a brief summary of some of the main features of the
'Tabo Style'. Bdp I, like many other Tabo documents, displays palatali-
sation of ma before e and i using a subscribed ya (ya btags). Moreover,
we meet with the extensive use of the da drag after many syllables
ending in r, nand l; the pleonastic, non-classical use of the 'a-chun;
horizontal ligatures for s-pa, s-ta and s-tsa; the form la stsags for la
sags as well as a number of other unusual spellings, often involving the
radical (min gii) letter ria.
Prior to recent advances in Tibetan paleography, the presence of such
archaisms was valued as firm evidence for the antiquity of a manuscript.
Today, most scholars working in the field accept that this correlation can
1. C. SCHERRER-SCHAUB & P. HARRISON, Inventory of the Tibetan Manuscript
Collection kept in the Tabo 'Du khan, forthcoming. Note that the references Tabo
9, Tabo 252 and Tabo 299 are to the running numbers of the manuscripts, not to
their identification numbers in the catalogue.
2. E. STEINKELLNER 1994; H. TAUSCHER 1994; P. HARRISON, forthcoming; C.
SCHERRER-SCHAUB, forthcoming a; T. TOMABECm, forthcoming.
no longer be upheld, since orthographic archaisms may simply be the
result of faithful copying of ancient manuscripts or stem from deliberate
imitation of older writing styles
Although this is an important consid-
eration, sensitising us towards style-imitation, I have found no evidence
that this phenomenon - typically involving the exaggerated application
of the da drag or the frequent use of the pleonastic 'a-chuli -:- affected
the production of Bdp I.4 In other words, I believe that the archaisms
found in Bdp I are genuine and reflect orthographic conventions current
at the time of its production.
There is reason to assume that great care was devoted to the produc-
tion of Bdp I. First, it features three beautifully drawn colour illumina-
tions that depict seated buddha-figures. As we shall discuss below, it is
very rare for Tabo manuscripts to display illuminations. Second, its
calligraphy is of high quality betraying the steady hand of gifted and
experienced scribes. The ligatures are well-proportioned, drawn in a
flowing, elegant handwriting style; the syllables are regularly distributed
over evenly spaced lines; the margin delineators are rarely breached (and
then only in the last line of the folios, recto and verso); there are no
contractions (bsdus yig) or abbreviation (skuli yig); we find only one
serious omission (rectified by a different hand at a later stage (f. 32.10))
and hardly any auto-corrections. Third, the quality of the paper is very
high, even for Tabo standards. The folios are well-crafted and fairly
thick, consisting of finely-sieved, dense hemp-pulp that is practically
free from the distorting fibre-lumps found in cheaper productions. The
oblong shape into which the paper has been cut is very regular and
displays only minute discrepancies in format. These factors, taken
together, leave no doubt that the team that manufactured the Bdp I
manuscript was well-funded, equipped with the proper tools and mate-
3. See, for example, H. EIMER: Review of Manfred Taube, Die Tibetica der
Berliner Turjansammlung, Berlin, 1980, Schriften zur Geschichte und Kultur
des Alten Orients, Berliner Turfantexte, X, in OLZ, 78.5 (1983), colI. 514-518.
4. T. TOMABECm, forthcoming.
JIABS 22.1 168
rials, and included craftsmen of considerable skil1.S Except for burn
marks at the edges of a handful of folios, even today the manuscript is in
excellent condition. The script is clear and the folios are generally very
well preserved.
Slight variations in the handwriting style, differences in the shape of
the mgo yig drawn at the beginning of each recto side and inconsistent
positioning of the binding-circles and margin references suggest that
more than one scribe contributed to the production process. Such differ-
ences are particularly pronounced on folios 181 to 210 and could, in
fact, indicate that these belong to a fourth manuscript. However, because
in all other respects their physical and orthographic features match the
other pages, without access to the originals, I am hesitant to separate
them from the rest of Bdp I. And even if they constitute a different
manuscript, because of their strong resemblance to the remaining folios
of Bdp I, they must have been produced in approximately the same
period, using similar resources.
Bdp II (Tabo 252) is the second longest fragment of our three manu-
scripts. It consists of thirteen folios all belonging to volume Ga (spread
over a range of 159 pages), each measuring 63cm x 19cm. Here too, the
text is divided into ten lines, containing fifty syllables each. However, in
Bdp II the core lines are not interrupted by binding-circles. As with Bdp
I, the first and last pages of the manuscript are missing. Because the
thirteen folios of Bdp II stand on their own, there is no indication that
they were ever part of a larger Ratnaka!a manuscript. Indeed, as I shall
demonstrate below, they were prepared specifically to fill in gaps caused
by folio loss in Bdp 1. The orthography of Bdp II differs substantially
from Bdp I since it does not feature any of its archaisms. Instead, its
calligraphy and spelling are very close to classical conventions, showing
neither da drags, ya btags or inverted i vowels. The script itself is dbu
can, but noticeably more angular, with the vertical strokes often
shortened. The overall production quality of Bdp II is significantly
lower than that of Bdp I. It teems with. calligraphic slips and contains a
5. Even so, the production is not without entirely flaws. For example, the sides of
folio 74 have been copied in the reverse order. That is to say, folio 74r should be
74v and 74v should appear as 74r. The scribe must have failed to notice that in
the master volume folio 74v was facing up and 74r down. Either he was absent-
minded, or perhaps, the original did not give any page/volume reference in the
margin. Nevertheless, he should have noticed the disorder, since verso sides lack
the mgo yig.
fair number of omissions, auto-corrections and inconsistent contractions.
Also from an aesthetic point of view, it is clearly an inferior manuscript.
The margin lines are repeatedly breached, syllables are spaced irregu-
larly, ligatures are ill-proportioned and the horizontal alignment of the
text-lines is ncit always observed. The paper, also made of hemp, is
darker and softer, almost parchment-like, and shows signs of maltreat-
ment (e.g., fs. 9, 108). Its surface is scarred by protruding fibre-particles
and pulp-elevations that notoriously mar low-grade manuscript produc-
tions in Tibet. Compared to the paper used for Bdp I, it is much weaker
but, and this is important, it does not show any charring at the edges.
There are no illuminations in this manuscript.
The third manuscript, Bdp III, consists of eight folios. Similarities
with other fragments suggests that these are part of a larger manuscript
that originally included several other Ratnakflta texts. So far, it has been
possible to identify only two of them, the Sirrzhaparip!cchii (Rk, 37) and
Upayakausalyaparivarta (Rk, 38). Compared to Bdp I and Bdp II, the
folios of Bdp III are similar in length but significantly smaller in height,
measuring 64cm x II.Scm. As a result, this manuscript accommodates
only seven lines per folio. Its calligraphy and orthography are very close
to Bdp I, featuring many of its spelling archaisms (e.g., da drag, ya
btags, etc.), but of a more rounded, albeit somewhat smaller, easy-
flowing script style. The paper, badly burnt at the short edges on four
folios, is yellowish-brown, less coarse and polished with rice powder. Its
right and left hand margins, like those of Bdp I and Bdp II, are marked
by two red vertical parallel strokes. The margins themselves do not
contain any volume signatures. The text is continuous, uninterrupted by
either binding-circles or illuminations. On balance, it is probably fair to
say that this manuscript does not match the high production-quality of
Bdp I either. Although Bdp III displays fewer orthographic errors,
omissions and auto-corrections than Bdp II, its overall visual appearance
is marred by inconsistent line-spacing, margin violations and a some-
what cramped writing style.
The Case of Bdp III(62)
There is one more Bodhisattvapitaka fragment that has not yet been
mentioned. I shall refer to it as Bdp III(62). The roman number points
to its potential affiliation with Bdp III. The numeral 62 refers to its folio
number and, since it is lacking a volume signature, serves as the princi-
pal means of identification. Bdp III(62) is a single-folio fragment whose
JIABS 22.1 170
manuscript affiliation is unresolved. Its external characteristics are very
similar to those of Bdp III. The dimensions are practically identical, the
spacing of the individual ligatures and text-lines is alike, its qrthographic
and calligraphic styles approximate those of Bdp III and even the degree
of charring at the short sides of the folios corresponds. In fact, were it
not for the following three minor differences, we would have no reason
to distinguish it from the other seven Bdp III folios.
First, the mgo yig that appears in the upper left-hand corner of the text
area on the recto side has a different shape. Quite clearly, it was drawn
by another hand. SCHERRER-SCHAUB has shown that the forms of these
mgo yig become important clues for assembling loose folios into manu-
scripts, since their designs, almost like a signature, help us to identify
the scribes that worked on the manuscripts.
Hence, even minor variants
are significant and should be recorded. On its own, calligraphic variation
in the mgo yig does not entail that the folios it adorns necessarily belong
to a different manuscript, since multi-volume compendia such as the
Ratnakuta routinely involved more than one scribe.
Second, while the handwriting of Bdp III(62) is broadly similar, it
does not match exactly the writing-style of the other folios. It is of a
more flowing and slanted kind that differs from the rather rectangular
and stocky calligraphy of Bdp III. Again, by itself, this does not tell us
anything about the manuscript affiliation of Bdp III(62), since it might
simply reflect multi-scribal project participation. Other, better-docu-
mented manuscript production enterprises report that the copying work
was routinely shared out among groups of calligraphers. The preparation
of the London Manuscript bKa' 'gyur, for example, involved no less
than ten calligraphers.
Third; the page number that is allocated to Bdp III(62) has already
been used up by another folio in Bdp III, even though the content of the
two folios is completely different. Folio 62 of Bdp III corresponds to
sTog fs 17v5-19r2 and falls into Chapter One, while folio 62 of Bdp
III(62) matches sTog fs 302r2-303r6 and belongs to Chapter Eleven.
Since Tabo 299 does not feature volume signatures, it is conceivable that
Bdp III(62) is a remnant of the continuation volume of Bdp III.
7. P. SKILLING and J. SAMTEN, in: U. PAGEL & S. GAFFNEY 1996, p. 9; See also:
K. SCHAEFFER, Buddhas, Books and Barley: Printing Buddhist Canons in Tibet,
unpublished paper.
Contextual grounds support this hypothesis, because its content is part of
the penultimate chapter. Let us recall that the Bodhisattvapiraka is an
extremely long text which, in the bKa" gyurs of the Tshal pa line, spans
more than one volume.
Whatever its 'manuscript affiliation, the most important feature of Bdp
III(62) is not related to its provenance but is found in its content. It is
the only folio of Bdp II and Bdp III that contains a substantial overlap
with Bdp 1. Its overlay enables us to carry out an internal comparison of
the readings of two Tabo manuscripts and to examine whether they
belong to a related textual tradition. In other words, Bdp III(62) affords
us a glimpse of the recensional composition of the Tabo collection,
which in turn may shed light on the history of its compilation.
Folio Distribution
The distribution of the 106 folios over the eleven chapters of the
Bodhisattvapiraka is remarkably proportional and gives us a much more
balanced text-profile than what has been noted for other Tabo frag-
Of all the chapters found in the canonical editions, only one
chapter is not included at all. Chapter One is represented by twelve
folios (Bdp I, fs. 20, 21; Bdp II, fs. 9, 11, 14-5, 17-9; Bdp III, fs. 53,
55, 62), Chapter Two by seven folios (Bdp I, fs. 22-5, 27; Bdp III, fs.
75-6), Chapter Three by three folios (Bdp I, fs. 28, 32-3), Chapter Four
by twenty-six folios (Bdp I, fs. 34, 38-40, 44, 50-1, 53-6, 58-9, 62-3,
67-9, 72-6, 78; Bdp III, fs. 89-90, 97), Chapter Five by three folios
(Bdp I, fs. 96, 99; Bdp II, f. 98), Chapter Six by five folios (Bdp I, fs.
101, 103-105; Bdp II, f. 100), Chapter Seven by seventeen folios (Bdp
I, fs. 107, 110, 112, 116-120, 122-25, 127, 131, 152; Bdp II, fs. 108-9),
Chapter Nine by twelve folios (Bdp I, fs. 152, 154-5, 159, 162, 164-7,
178, 181; Bdp II, f. 168), Chapter Ten by nine folios (Bdp I, fs. 182,
185, 187-93) and Chapter Eleven by twelve folios (Bdp I, fs. 193-5,
197-8, 200, 201-2, 204-5, 208, 210; Bdp III, f. 62). Chapter Eight is
completely missing. Chapter Four, which is by far the longest chapter of
the text, enjoys the strongest representation, while Chapters Two, Three,
Five and Six - the shortest chapters - are represented by less than a
handful of folios each. With a survival rate of 54%, Chapter One is best
preserved proportionate to its original length.
8. P. HARRISON, forthcoming.
JIABS 22.1 172
The Bodhisattvapitaka in the dKon brtsegs Collection
In Chinese and Tibetan canonical compendia the is
part of the Ratnaku/a collection. However, its inclusion in this collection
cannot be taken for granted a priori, since the Phug brag bKa' 'gyur
contains a second version of the Bodhisattvapi/aka that is listed as a
separate text outside the dKon brtsegs section. What is the status of our
three manuscripts? Are they independent or are they included in a
Ratnaku/a collection? Because no other folios belonging to the Bdp I
manuscript have survived, we are forced to rely, in part, on circumstan-
tial evidence. The case ofBdp III is somewhat stronger, since we possess
other folios of this manuscript. Due to its close association with Bdp I,
Bdp II is excluded from the present investigation.
First, there is the argument of volume association. The volume num-
bering of Bdp I, starting with Ga and ending with Ga/Ma, suggests that
our manuscript folios are part of a volume that was preceded by at least
two other volumes, bearing the volume signatures Ka and Kha. We do
not know anything about the content of these hypothetical volumes,
though it is possible that they contained other RatnakL7/a texts. In all
known bKa' 'gyur editions, the Bodhisattvapitaka is the twelfth text of
the Ratnakuta collection. In the Them spans ma versions (London,
Tokyo and sTog), as well as in the Phug brag bKa' 'gyur, the Bodhi-
sattvapitaka is the first text of volume Ga, taking up approximately
three quarters of its folios. In the Tshal pa versions, the Bodhisattva-
pitaka spans two volumes, beginning towards the end of the third
quarter of volume Kha and ending in the middle of volume Ga. In our
Tabo manuscript, the first surviving folio of the Bodhisattvapitaka be-
longs to Chapter One and bears the page number 20 (Ga iii su). Folios 1
(*Ga gcig) to 19 (*Ga bcu dgu) are missing. Correlation of the conterit/
folio ratio of these nineteen folios, as it is preserved in the other bKa'
'gyur editions, with the content/folio ratio in Bdp I suggests that it is
probable that the Bodhisattvapitaka text of Bdp I began on the first folio
of volume Ga of our Tabo manuscript. In other words, the content/
volume allocation of Bdp I parallels that in the Them spans ma bKa'
'gyurs, where, as we have seen, the Bodhisattvapitaka starts at the
beginning of the third volume of the dKon brtsegs section.
Next, there is the argument of text association. This argument is
essentially derived from Bdp III (Tabo 299). It has therefore less force
than the first, but should not be overlooked entirely. In Bdp III, the
surviving- Bodhisattvapitaka fragments do not occur in isolation, but are
accompanied by other folios that share their codicologic characteristics_
These contain two RatnakLlta texts, the SirJ'lhaparip!cchii located on folio
10 (bcu tham pa) to folio 15 (bco Ina), and the Upiiyakausalyaparivarta
on folio 15 (bcD Ina) to folio 50 (lna bcu tham pa). Like Bdp I, these
texts are only partially preserved. The whereabouts of the twenty-four
intervening Ratnakuta texts that are usually included between the Bodhi-
sattvapitaka (Rk, 12) and SirJ'lhaparip!cchii (Rk, 37), as well as the
eleven texts that follow after the Upiiyakausalyaparivarta (Rk, 38), is
not known.
Because of these omissions, we are unable to establish the original
scope of Tabo 299. It may have contained a scaled-down version of the
Ratnakuta collection or, alternatively, it could have belonged to a multi-
volume Ratnakuta production. As it does not supply volume signatures
in the margin, it is not even possible to establish the relative position of
the SirJ'lhaparip!cchii and Upiiyakausalyaparivarta against the Bodhi-
sattvapitaka. In other words, the Bodhisattvapitaka folios may originally
have followed after the Upiiyakausalyaparivarta or have come before
the SirJ'lhaparip!cchii. Since the SirJ'lhaparip!cchii and Upiiyakausalya-
parivarta are consecutive and share a colophonlincipit folio, we know
that it cannot have been located between the two texts.
Our investigation is further complicated by the presence of several
stray folios with similar codicologic characteristics (e.g., folio 100), but
whose text affiliation has not yet been ascertained. In theory, it is well
possible that they belong to another, as yet unidentified, (Ratnakuta)
text embedded in Tabo 299. If these orphaned folios also tum out to
contain Ratnaku!a sutras, the case for a Ratnakuta connection of Bdp III
would be strengthened. But even if they are revealed to contain other
works, the presence of two Ratnakiita texts in the same manuscript as
Bdp III establishes a degree of association between the collection and
our text. Thus, on the strength of Tabo 299, we may surmise that at least
some monks in the Tabo region knew the Bodhisattvapitaka to belong to
the Ratnakiita collection. On the other hand, since we do not know if the
monks who worked on Tabo 299 contributed also to the production of
9. In Them spans rna editions, the Bodhisattvapi!aka is included in volume Ga. In
Tshal pa versions, it is included in volumes Kha and Ga. Since the Si1J'lhapari-
PTcchtl and Uptlyakausalyaparivarta are included in volume Cha in both tradi-
tions, three volumes would have separated the Bodhisattvapi!aka from the Si1J'lha-
paripTcchti and Uptlyakausalyaparivarta.
JIABS 22.1 174
Tabo 9, we cannot infer that Bdp I itself was part of a larger dKon
brtsegs copying project.
Finally, there is the inclusion of several internal r e f e r e n c e ~ which link
Bdp I quite explicitly to the Ratnakfita collection. After every bam po,
we find in Bdp I the following phrase: dkon mchog rtsegs pa chen po'i
mdo'. Neither the Phug brag bKa' 'gyur nor any of the other editions
for that matter, give this reference. I think there can be no doubt that
this phrase associates Bdp I with the Ratnakfita. However, it does not
tell us anything about the organisation of the collection which Bdp I was
a part of. That is to say, we do not know whether the Ratnakfita collec-
tion(s) of Tabo was/were organised in the same way as the dKon brtsegs
found in 'modern' editions of the bKa' 'gyur. The evidence is conflict-
ing. On the one hand, the numbering of the Sirrzhaparip!cchii and
UpiiyakausalyasCttra as Ratnakiita sCttras nos. 37 and 38 in Tabo 299
agrees with the usual organisation of the collection, introduced by
Bodhiruci in 713AD. This would suggest that Tabo 299 was aware of
Bodhiruci's arrangement and accepted it at least in part. On the other
hand, in another Tabo manuscript I have found a colophon/incipit con-
text in which two, usually non-consecutive RatnakCtta sfitras (Rasmi- (Rk, 11) and (Rk, 7)) appear
next to each other.] 0 While these texts cannot have been listed in that
sequence originally (the Rasmisamantamuktanirdesa which is given first
ends on bam po 5, whereas the which is given
second begins on bam po 1), the fact that they occur back to back in a
single manuscript suggests that the order of the forty-nine texts was
perhaps less rigid than commonly assumed. J J
At present, we cannot say if this variant represents a local tradition
preserved only in Tabo or attests the existence of an earlier order predat-
ing Bodhiruci's organisation. Much depends on the evidence in the other
dKon brtsegs texts of Tabo. If the juxtapositioning of Rk 11 and Rk 7 is
not found elsewhere, we have to regard it as an aberration, perhaps
reflecting the preference of a single scribe or sponsor. If, on the other
hand, sequential variants of this type are also found in other Tabo manu-
10. This manuscript was fonnerly known as Tabo 252. Codicologic evidence has led
to me to believe that we need to distinguish it from Bdp II Tabo 252. The incipits/
colophons are found on folio 66r8-1O. Until this manuscript has received a sepa-
rate number, I shall refer to it as "Tabo 252 (non Bdp)".
11. For a survey of what is known about the history of the Ratnaku1a collection, see:
U. PAGEL 1994, pp. 53-78.
scripts, we may need to revise current thinldng about the history of the
Ratnakuta and, in particular, re-assess the influence of the lDan dkar rna
catalogue where the Ratnakuta is listed in its 'modern' organisation. For
many years, this catalogue has been regarded as an early predecessor of
later proto-canonical compilations.
Perhaps, it is no more than a record
of the opinion of one school of thought and limited in circulation to
Central Tibet.1
12. M. LALOU 1927, pp. 313-317; P. SKlLLING, 1997, pp. 91-93.
13. Since the reference is not found in any other version, printed or manu-
script and because we do not possess the Sanskrit of the Bodhisattvapi!aka, it is
not possible to tell whether this heading had a counterpart in an Indian original.
(According to Christian LINDTNER, a Sanskrit version of the Bodhisattvapi!aka
has recently surfaced in China. Regrettably, he is unable to give any further
details (1998, p. 229)). If it was present, we must conclude that the translation of
Bdp I was based on a Sanskrit original that is not only different from the Indian
original of Bdp III, but also different from the Sanskrit of all other bKa' 'gyur
editions. In other words, it would represent a unique tradition that survived only
in Bdp 1. If, on the other hand, it was added in the translation process, either to
underline the fascicle or volume breaks already signalled by the bam po
references, or to remind the reader of the name of the collection in which the
Bodhisattvapi!aka is included, it would constitute a deliberate editorial
ConfIrmation of either hypothesis is difficult. Previous attempts to explain the
origin and function of the bam po division in Tibetan translations of Indian texts
have only scratched the surface of the problem. The best studies to date are by
SCHERRER-SCHAUB (1992: 218-20) and EIMER (1988). We still do not know
why and exactly at what stage these divisions were incorporated. Until we have a
better picture of their purpose, there is very little to support the assumption that it
served to emphasise the bam po division. It is also conceivable that the heading
accompanied the bam po reference at the beginning of the fascicle in order to
mark its affiliation with the collection. Verification of this explanation
depends, in part, on the inclusion of similar headings in the other texts
preserved at Tabo. So far, in the five texts included in Tabo 252 (non
Bdp) and 299 I have found one other identical dKon brtsegs reference. It occurs
at the end of Chapter Two of the (Rk, 6) (Tabo 252
(non Bdp), Kha, 28r1). While this is not a very promising beginning, let us recall
that our sample is rather small and not necessarily representative (44 out of a total
of approximately 1000 dKon brtsegs folios). If the heading is found elsewhere -
we clearly need more than one example as evidence - it might have important
ramifications for our understanding of the history of the Ratnakilta. For example,
it could confirm the existence of an Indian prototype and corroborate the recen-
sional isolation of the West Tibetan manuscript tradition.
The absence of these references in Tabo 299 would seem to suggest that, at
one time, several versions of the Bodhisattvapitaka were in circulation: one
included in the collection and the other(s) transmitted independently.
JIABS 22.1 176
Quite independent of this investigation, I think we have sufficient
grounds to associate our Tabo manuscripts with the Ratnakilta
collection. First, there is the Ratnakil!a affiliation of Tabo 299
contains Bdp III; second, the Ratnakil!a's volume allocation in Tabo
9/252 and third, again in Tabo 9/252, the inclusion of six unambiguous
references to the Ratnakil!a collection in the text itself. In short, we may
infer that both Tabo 9 and Tabo 252 must have been part of a larger
dKon brtsegs Section of which Bdp I is probably the only surviving text.
The Three Miniatures
In my description of the Bdp I fragment, I mentioned three manuscript
illuminations. These are located in the centre of folios 21 v (Ga fier cig),
27r (Ga fier bdun) and 33v (Ga so gsum) and consist of three very
similar buddha images, painted blue and red, all seated in the earth-
touching posture (bhilmisparsamudrii). The painting style of the three
miniatures is very similar to buddhas that adorn the walls of the Tabo
'Du-khan and to illustrations found in the Prajfiiipiiramitii manuscript
from POO.14 They all share a number of distinct features, such as the tall
top-knot the round hair-style with an outline of small curls, a
serene facial expression accentuated by high eyebrows and a small
circular nose and mouth, and, perhaps above all, their very vivid
colours. Like their counterparts in the Poo Manuscript, they are set in a
small squarish picture field, measuring 5cm x 8cm, placed roughly in
the middle of the page. The range of background colours includes
greens, blues, yellows as well as bright reds. While the figures them-
selves have not yet been positively identified - they depict probably
Sakyamuni Buddha - there can be no doubt that their presence on these
specific pages is not coincidental.
On all three pages, the miniatures appear at the end of chapters (chpt.
1, 2 and 3 respectively) where they serve as visual breaks. Unfortu-
nately, folios 21, 27 and 33 are the only surviving pages that belong
unambiguously to Bdp I and contain text-internal chapter titles. One
We find a precedent for this in the Phug brag manuscript which has two differing
recensions of the Bodhisattvapi!aka, one included in the dKon brtsegs section
(Ga, fs.lal-356a6) and the other in the mDo section (La, fs. 1a1-325a5. Either
way, the inclusion of the reference marks an important departure from
the other editions and indicates, at the very least, that Bdp I and Bdp III are not
derived from the same source.
14. D. KLIMBURG-SALTER 1994b, pp. 56-60.
such title, occurring on folio 100r (Ga brgya) and marking the end of
Chapter Five, is part of Bdp II which is altogether without illuminations.
Two more chapter titles occur on folios 181 v (Ga/Na gya gcig) and
193v (Ga/Na go gsum), signalling the end of Chapters Nine and Ten
respectively. Here too, we lack miniatures. Because the manuscript
affiliation of these two folios is not fully established, they cannot serve
as basis for deductions about the remaining chapter markers of Bdp 1. In
other words, they do not allow us to conclude that only the endings of
the first three chapters of Bdp I were artistically adorned. In fact,
because Bdp II and Bdp III are much plainer and do not feature any
decorative elements, it is probable that they were conceived without
In a recent publication, Paul HARRISON draws attention to the almost
complete lack of illuminations in the Tabo collection.
Against the
background of the wealth of finely illuminated manuscripts found else-
where in western Tibet
, he argues, this comes as a surprise. I am not
sure, however, if we can assume, a priori, that the Tabo collection is
wholly West Tibetan in origin. It is true, text-critical examination of a
handful of texts has produced a fairly consistent recensional pattern, but
recensional uniformity is hardly proof of regional sourcing. HARRISON
has calculated that the present content of the library, stored in 60
volumes, amounts to little more than 20% of its original size. This
means that the full collection must have consisted of more than 300
large bundles of manuscripts. Clearly, we need to ask ourselves where
the remaining portion was stored, since the 'Du khan does not have the
capacity to house a collection of that size. It is also conceivable that
there never existed such a large collection at anyone time, and that what
we have today represents a haphazard and incomplete cross-section of
centuries of acquisitions, losses and restoration projects. In other words,
we may misrepresent history if we think of the Tabo collection as a
stable and ever-increasing holding of Buddhist scripture, that apart from
periodic foreign assaults, continued to grow around the ten sets of texts
reputedly deposited there by Rin chen bzan po.
The piecemeal nature of the surviving texts suggests much greater
fluidity and transitoriness. The library's current holdings are probably
little more than a snapshot of the countless manuscripts, small and large,
15. P. HARRISON, forthcoming.
16. D. KLIMBURG-SALTER 1994a, 1994b.
JIABS 22.1 178
that circulated at one point or another in West Tibet. Some may have
been incomplete to begin with, others fell victim to external aggression
or, while in the library, simply suffered curatorial neglect. Still others
may have been discarded or relocated in order to make room for new
manuscripts. We do not know when this process of expansion and con-
traction came to a halt, though in view of the Library's striking high
degree of fragmentation it must have persisted for a long time. Because
the collection contains very little that postdates the 17th century, it is
unlikely that significant additions were made during the 18th and 19th
centuries. 17
I very much doubt that a repository of such fluidity would have been
single-sourced. It is well known from other contexts that manuscripts
travelled with their owners. Perhaps only a minority of manuscripts was
locally produced, with the rest coming from other temples and house-
holds in the region.
In one of her first publications on the collection,
KLIMBURG-SALTER, distinguishes three different provenances for the
canonical collections in the monasteries and temples of Guge/Purang.
First, there are the texts brought to West Tibet by monks and their
aristocratic sponsors who fled the central areas following the disintegra-
tion of the political order after the breakup of the kingdom. Since these
manuscripts would have been produced in Central Tibet, she argues, one
would not expect them to show traits of the West Tibetan manuscript
tradition. Although we do not possess any Central Tibetan manuscripts
from that period, judging by the appearance of the Gilgit materials, they
were probably rather plain and lacked illuminations. Mter a while, these
texts were copied out and circulated to other monasteries in the Gugel
Purang area, producing a new class of manuscripts. The production and
distribution of these copies was sponsored by the rulers of the emerging
West Tibetan dynasty, their art-work representing local styles popular at
the end of the 10th century. The third category of manuscripts, prepared
during the 11th and 12th century, became exposed to artistic currents
prevailing in Kashmir and spreading gradually eastwards towards Guge
and Purang. For the art-historian, these are the most interesting manu-
scripts since their illustrations bear witnesses to the fusion of two or
17. C. SCHERRER-SCHAUB & G. BONANI, forthcoming.
18. E. STEINKELLNER 1994, p. 131-132.
19. D. KLIMBURG-SALTER 1994a, p. 445.
more artistic styles.
If KLIMBURG-SALTER's analysis is correct, and
the early books imported from Central Tibet were indeed without
illuminations, it is conceivable that the proportion of illustrated manu-
scripts at Tabo was much lower than previously assumed. For not only
would the first generation lack miniatures, but cultural conservatism
would probably also have prevented the sponsors of the immediate
copies from introducing novel artistic components. In short, the library
of Tabo may have included fewer illuminated manuscripts in its various
states of growth, change and contraction than is typical of other slightly
younger West Tibetan holdings.
Nevertheless, even if we are to accept the logic behind this argument,
it would scarcely account for the almost complete absence of illustrated
folios in the collection today. In total, among the 35,700 folios, no more
than 60 miniatures have survived, concentrated on only ten text units,
with roughly half of them belonging to a single Paiicavirrzsati Prajiiii-
piiramitii manuscript. Particularly noteworthy, in this context, is the
total lack of frontis folios, the very place where illuminations were tra-
ditionally painted. Perplexed by this improbable ratio, Paul HARRISON
concluded that the collection must have been thoroughly picked over.
We have no idea when this occurred, though it is likely to pre-date the
20th century. Neither FRANKE nor TUCCI, in the published accounts of
their visits to Tabo in 1909 and 1933
, make any reference to illumina-
tions in the manuscripts. Given the art-historical interest of both visitors,
it is highly unlikely that they would have neglected mentioning them
had they spotted any miniatures.
The reason why our three Bodhisattvapitaka miniatures escaped the
ransacking eyes of those who plundered the collection is of course not
known. The miniatures themselves are rather small and, in two in-
stances, located on verso sides. In addition, there is the great length of
the Bodhisattvapitaka. Originally, it must have consisted of no less than
220 folios. It may well be that they were simply overlooked in a hasty
search or left behind as too insignificant.
20. D. KLIMBURG-SALTER 1994b, pp. 58-60.
21. P. HARRISON, forthcoming.
22. A.H. FRANKE 1914, pp. 37-43; G. TUCCI 1935, pp. 86-89.
JIABS 22.1 180
Restoration Efforts
We have seen that the current survival rate of the Tabo collection has
been calculated at approximately 20%.23 That is to say, on average no
more than one fifth of the original size of anyone manuscript is extant.
The highest survival rate of a single manuscript so far encountered is
62%.24 The survival rate of texts is somewhat higher, since the collec-
tion includes some very short works that are preserved in toto. Even if
we take this into account, the ratio of the Bodhisattvapitaka is well
above average. In total, the combined 106 folios of its three Tabo :rp.anu-
scripts represent 48% of the text as it is known to us from the dKon
brtsegs sections of currently available bKa' , gyur editions. Of the Bdp I,
the largest of our three fragments, approximately 38% is extant. This is
almost twice the survival rate for the manuscripts included in the
collection as a whole. While we cannot interpret this high figure as an
indicator of the Bodhisattvapitaka' s popularity in West Tibet, the fact
that Tabo kept multiple copies suggests that it might have been more
popular than others. We have seen that this holds true above all for the
Ser phyin material, but applies also to some mDo mall texts, such as the
Samildhiriljasiltra of which no less than eight copies have come to
On the other hand, one must not be misled by these statistics,
since they do not tell us the whole story.
As I have noted in my description of the physical condition of the
manuscripts, the majority of folios (87 units or 82%) belongs to Bdp 1.
Thirteen folios (almost 12%) belong to Bdp II and only eight (6%) to
Bdp IIl.2
Neither Bdp I, Bdp II nor Bdp III contain any information
about the circumstances and dates of their compilation. Our knowledge
of their mutual relationships is entirely derived from their physical
appearance and content. Textual observations have proven particularly
helpful in unraveling the developments that link Bdp I with Bdp II. The
relationship between Bdp I and Bdp III is more complex and will be
discussed in a different section.
23. P. HARRISON, forthcoming.
24. P. HARRISON, forthcoming.
25. P. HARRISON, forthcoming.
26. For a detailed listing of the folios and their counterparts in the sTog Palace bKa'
'gyur, see the Chart in the Appendix.
I was first alerted to the close textual affinity of Bdp I and Bdp II
when I began to collate their folios with the text in the sTog Palace edi-
tion. Very soon, it became apparent that there was no overlap between
the two manuscripts and that all 13 folios of Bdp II fitted exactly into
the gaps where' Bdp I was incomplete. After a series of cross-checks
against other editions, I have now come to conclude that Bdp II is a later
production which was prepared to substitute missing folios of Bdp I that
had been lost as a result of vandalism or curatorial neglect. Its folios
pick up on the text exactly there where Bdp I ends, down to the word,
syllable and yes, occasionally even to the letter. Bdp II folios abruptly
end where the text of Bdp I resumes. In other words, Bdp II is a restora-
tion manuscript that was produced in order to supplement an earlier but
incomplete version of the Bodhisattvapitaka. It probably never had an
identity, being conceived, as it were, merely as a filler and not as a
complete manuscript on its own.
How do we know that Bdp II, and not Bdp I, is the restoration
manuscript? There is one compelling reason. Most verso sides of Bdp II
folios develop on the last three to four lines very irregular sentence and
syllable intervals, where the spacing is adjusted (usually widened) in
order to run the text to the bottom of the folio. In other words, where
the volume of the substituting text is insufficient to cover the whole
page, it is artificially stretched to connect with the first syllable on the
recto side of the following folio. This became necessary because the
scribe "of Bdp II, probably fearful that he might run out of space else-
where, reduced the intervals between syllables beyond the prevailing
ratio of Bdp I, thereby creating surplus space towards the end. Since he
did not want to let the substituting text end in the middle of the page, he
extended it calligraphically to the bottom line. Because Bdp I does not
show any signs of scribal manipulation where the two manuscripts meet,
it must have been the original to which Bdp II adjusted, not vice versa.27
27. Theoretically, the uneven syllable-distribution could also be the result of a
division of labour between several persons working on the same manuscript. It is
well known that larger manuscript productions were routinely prepared by more
than one scribe. In those cases, the folios of the original copy are shared out
among the copying team, with each scribe being allocated a certain number of
pages. In order to achieve a seamless joint, scribes would often need to adjust
their writing to connect to the folios copied by their colleagues. Hence, it is not
inconceivable that the distribution irregularities observed in Bdp II might
represent the points of transition where the contributions of two scribes meet.
However, the following points speak against this interpretation. First, the paper-
JIABS 22.1 182
In addition, there are a number of codicologic and paleographic charac-
teristics, discussed below, which establish Bdp I as the older manuscript
of the two.
We do not know whether the 13 Bdp II folios represent only a fraction
of the original restoration effort or whether they approximate the total
of replacement folios made. The original size of Bdp I must have been
close to 220 folios. If we subtract the 97 surviving folios of Bdp I and
Bdp II, we are left with well over one hundred folios unaccounted for.
If the existing proportions (Bdp I: 84 folios; Bdp II: 13 folios) are any-
thing to go by, only 20 to 30 folios may have been needed. Moreoyer, it
will have been noticed that seven of the 13 restored folios belong to
Chapter One. The beginning of a text is arguably the most vulnerable
part of a manuscript and suffers most acutely from the effects of poor
storage, hasty scanning and intentional maltreatment. In other words,
once the loss in Chapter One was addressed and the occasional gaps in
the remainder of the text filled, Bdp I might have been returned to the
shelves in good condition. If we accept this course of events, the 13
folios of Bdp II would be nearly all that was produced during the substi-
tution project, with the other lacunae resulting from subsequent pillaging
and neglect. On the other hand, we cannot be certain that the restoration
was a complete one. If the copy used for restoration itself had been
damaged in the course of time, some of the current lacunae might pre-
date the restoration effort.
In two places one gains the impression that the restoration project was
never completed. First, at the end of Chapter Five (f. 100r9-1O), there is
a large gap where in the parallel passage in all other versions of the text
(LSTJQNDFIF2) we meet with the chapter title byams pa dan I sfiin rje
dan I dga' ba dan I btan sfioms kyi Ie 'u ste Ina ba' 0 II. Since the space
where this reference appears elsewhere is left blank, it is possible that
the scribe intended to fill it in at a later stage, but never got around to it.
quality of Bdp I and Bdp II does not match. It is unlikely that disparate types of
paper would be utilised in one and the same manuscript production. Second, all
folios of Bdp II display similar paleographic traits and were probably written by
the same hand. Third, the folio distribution is very uneven. For example, folio 96
belongs to Bdp I, folio 98 to Bdp II, folio 99 to Bdp I and folio 100 to Bdp II. I
doubt that scribes would be allocated pages on such a piecemeal basis. In those
cases where scribal collaboration on a single manuscript is recorded, the copying
allocations tend to be more substantial. See H. EIMER: "Zwanzig BUttter des
Urga-Kanjur in Stuttgart", ZAS 18 (1985): 208-221.
The gap Itself spans almost two thirds of a line and provides sufficient
room for a later insertion. The actual length of the blank might have
been the result of a rough 'estimate or the outcome of a careful calcula-
tion, possibly from a count of the syllables in the original. In any event,
because the scribe inserted two iiis sad in the centre of the lacuna, as if
to separate two discrete spaces - one of which is traditionally left blank
at chapter-endings - it is unlikely that we are dealing here with an over-
sight. On the contrary, the provision of the second gap to the left is
probably the upshot of some, as yet unknown, design, traces of which
have been detected in at least one other Tabo manuscript.2
Second, on
folio 162v8 we meet with a large lacuna to the right and left of a bam
po reference. Empty space to the right of the bam po reference is to be
expected, serving as a visual section-break. The lacuna to the left, how-
ever, is unusual. Elsewhere in Bdp II, in this space we find the heading
dkon mchog rtsegs pa chen po'i mdo'.
What were the reasons behind these omissions? Let us recall that the
scribe who worked on the Bdp II was engaged in restoration - not in
composition - and had therefore very little freedom in the execution of
his task. If the original source did contain the chapter and heading refer-
ences, why should he decide to leave them out? Or, if they were not
included in the original, how did he know where to position the lacunae
and decide on their lengths? Perhaps he had intermittent access to a
second copy against which he periodically cross-checked his text. He
might have had doubt about the readings of the original, left two empty
spaces, intending to return to them later. In the meantime, the project
was aborted and the gaps forgotten.
It is also possible that the copyist had an exemplar before him which
contained the gaps just as they appear in Bdp II today. In other words,
he simply followed the original line by line, neither adding nor subtract-
ing anything. This would accord with the conservatism that prevailed in
the scribal tradition, even though we know that our scribe took else-
where liberty with syllable-spacing for text to reach the bottom of verso
sides. Perhaps, it is significant that the lacuna at the end of Chapter Five
occurs on a recto side, the part of the folio that is usually free from
tampering. While I am inclined to adopt this as the most likely explana-
28. P. Harrison, personal communication, January 1999.
JIABS 22.1 184
tion, it is not fully satisfactorily, since it does not address the reason for
its presence in the original.2
The lacuna itself has important bearing on the recensional history of
our manuscripts. If the gap existed already in the copy used for the
restoration, this manuscript cannot have been the master-copy (rna dpe),
since we know from other versions that this was complete. More likely,
it would have been a sister or possibly a daughter copy of Bdp 1. Just
how close it was to the original master is not possible to ascertain, since
neither has survived.
Do we have any idea when the restoration took place?
and codicologic evidence led SCHERRER-SCHAUB to place Bdp I among
the oldest Tabo manuscripts, written in the 11th century.30 This is con-
firmed by the design of the three miniatures, which is similar to styles
current in West Tibet during the early centuries of the first millennium
AD.31 We have no information about the circumstances in which the
missing folios disappeared. Nor do we know for how long Bdp I was
left incomplete. Orthographic conventions suggest that Bdp II was pre-
pared in a period when archaisms had fallen out of use and classical
spelling had become the norm. This would make Bdp II a post-13th
century production, since most archaisms had disappeared in West
Tibetan manuscripts by the middle of the 14th century.32
Two dates, both rather late, spring to mind. First, there is the devasta-
tion of the temple at the hands of the soldiers of the Dogra general
Zorawar Singh who invaded Spiti in 1839 during a campaign against
Zans dkar. Alternatively, the restoration could have taken place after the
Dogra expedition against Tibet of 1849 when both the temple and the
library were badly damaged. Because we have no evidence that would
link Bdp II with either of these events, it is virtually impossible to
favour one date over the other. Moreover, there may have been other
29. In this context, it is worth noting that long gaps towards the end of chapters or at
the beginning of bam po divisions are not uncommon in West Tibetan manu-
scripts. In some cases, these lacunae span over 70% of the last line of a chapter or
bam po section. However, my point here is that we have not only a very large
physical gap, but also an omission of text which is present in all other known
versions of the Bodhisattvapi!aka.
30. C. Scherrer-Schaub, personal communication, August 1998.
31. D. Klimburg-Salter, personal communication, October 1998.
32. C. SCHERRER-SCHAUB, forthcoming a.
attempts to destroy the collection of which we have no record.
wall inscriptions at Tabo contain one explicit reference to a renovation
project, where we learn that 46 years after its construction in 1042 ByaiJ.
chub ' od, who was the grandnephew of the founder Yeses ' od, restored
parts of the monastery.34 The inscription does not say whether the reno-
vation was prompted by exposure to violent aggression nor whether it
involved manuscripts. Also the precise extent of the restoration is not
noted. Art-historical research has revealed that the building activities
were accompanied by an ambitious painting project in the cella, ambula-
tory and assembly halP5 This could be interpreted that the renovation of
1042 was part of a larger, possibly cyclical, maintenance programme.
The project itself could have been triggered by similar work that was
carried out at Tholing a few years earlier. Here; as reported in the mira'
ris rgyal rabs, a major renovation effort was completed during the earth-
dragon year (1026).36 We have no knowledge about the events that led
to the upgrading of the Tholing temple complex. Given the prosperity of
the region and the Buddhist fervour of its rulers, it is conceivable that it
represented the first phase of a larger, possibly centrally directed, pan-
West Tibetan renovation initiative that was later extended to include also
The Tabo collection itself might have been affected by the
structural deterioration that prompted the restoration (a number of folios
show clear water damage), though thereis no evidence that the restora-
tion involved work on the manuscripts.
The scorch marks found on some of the surviving Bdp I folios
suggests that Bdp II was produced after parts of Bdp I had been con-
sumed by fire. Two folios, in particular, bear traces of charring (fs. 34,
155). Bdp II does not show any sign of fire-damage. The cause of the
fire that singed Bdp I is not known. It could have been started acciden-
tally while the manuscripts were kept in the temple, or it could have
been intentionally lit in order to destroy the collection. Since there is no
33. L. PETECH 1988, pp. 369-394.
34. E. STEINKELLNER & Ch. LUCZANITS, p. 258, in: !<LIMBURG-SALTER 1997b.
Alternative dates, proposed by L. PETECH, are 1008 and 1054.
35. E. STEINKELLNER 1997, p. 258; !<LIMBURG-SALTER 1997b, p. 46.
36. R. VITALI 1997, p. 58.8-10.
37. For more detail about the renovation of Tholing, see: R. VITALI 1996, pp. 255-
JIABS 22.1 186
obvious fire-damage to the buildings of the monastery38, it is uiJlikely
that the fire started in the temple itself. Steinkellner proposed that the
burning took place away from the main structures, perhaps in the court-
yard, and was part of a deliberate attempt to annihilate the manu-
We have no information where, when or by whom this was
done. Since also Bdp II shows some margin-damage, we know that it
was produced prior to the last assault on the library. Because its damage
does not match that of Bdp I, it must have been inflicted at a time when
the collection was already in disorder. Tabo's geographic location, sand-
wiched between hostile Moslem rulers to the South and East for cen-
turies, means that it could have been caught up in any number of cam-
paigns, beginning with the raids of the Qarakhanid's in the eleventh
century40, the conquest by the Ladakhi general bKra sis mam rgyal in
the 16th century41, and stretching up to the events of the 19th century.
Since we have no record of whether and how these military campaigns
affected Tabo, it is not even possible to pinpoint the century, let alone
the event that led to the partial destruction of our manuscripts. On
orthographic grounds, Bdp II must have been produced after the 13th
century; and on historical grounds, before the middle of the 19th
Finally, we should bear in mind that the restoration could have been
prompted by ordinary wear and tear rather than cultural vandalism. Bdp
I itself shows many traces of routine curatorial intervention, such as the
(faulty) renumbering of folios (Ga, gya bii for don bii, gya bia for don
Ilia, gya drug for don drug and gya brgyad for don brgyad), the inser-
tion of decimal indicators in the margins ('+', 'I') and sporadic editorial
emendation of the text (e.g., folio 20SrlO). While this suggests that at
least portions of the library received occasional conservatorial mainte-
nance, we do not know when or by whom it was carried out.42 Original-
ly, none of the 106 Bodhisattvapi!aka folios incorporated decimal indi-
38. E. STEINKELLNER 1994, p. 132; G. TUCCI 1935, pp. 21-121; A.H. FRANKE
1914, pp. 37-43; D. KLIMBURG-SALTER 1994a, pp. 21-38, 1997b, pp. 65-202.
39. E. STEINKELLNER 1994, p. 131-2.
40. L. PETECH 1977, p. 143.
41. L. PETECH 1977, p. 30.
42. Cf. P. HARRISON, forthcoming.
cators other than the lettering Ga, GalNa and Ga1Ma.
Today, 41
folios, all belonging to Bdp I, include numerals in their margins.
Because most of them are crudely drawn in a different ink and not
proportionate in: size to the other margin information, it is probable that
they were added in the more recent history of the collection. Whatever
the origin of these emendations, it is clear that the manuscripts were
consulted for study and received at least sporadic curatorial care.
The Relationships between the Three Manuscripts
The restoration of Bdp I raises a number of interesting issues other than
the date when it was carried out. For example, there is the textual rela-
tionship between Bdp I and Bdp II. In order to resolve their stemmatic
affiliation, we need to learn more about the source(s) from which they
were copied. Were both texts prepared from the same original? If they
are derived from different manuscripts, what was the recensional rela-
tionship between their respective source texts? If they go back to the
same text, where was this restoration copy kept? How was it identified
after all those years that separate Bdp I and Bdp II, and by whom?
43. For details on the pagination system, see: E. STEINKELLNER 1994, p. 125-128
and C. SCHERRER-SCHAUB & G. BONANI, forthcoming.
44. If we accept that Bdp II is the outcome of conservatorial care aimed at restoring
the complete text of Bdp I, we need to examine whether this project was an iso-
lated case, or whether restoration was also attempted with other Tabo manu-
scripts. Strictly speaking, this cannot be resolved without a comprehensive study
of the material in question and lies therefore outside the current investigation.
There is, however, a short-cut that will give us some idea about the extent of
similar restoration efforts at Tabo. I have noted earlier that irregular and implau-
sibly wide spacing on the last three/four lines on a verso side signals restoration
activity. Thus, spacing inconsistencies at the bottom of verso folios become a
rough indicator of text restoration in the collection. With this in mind, I scanned
the remaining dKon brtsegs folios of Tabo 299 and Tabo 252 (non Bdp) avail-
able to me. The result was disappointing; I found only one case (Tabo 252, Ka, f.
90v) that displays unambiguous spacing irregularities towards the bottom of the
folio. Moreover, without locating fIrst the content of this folio in the sTog Palace
manuscript, we cannot even be certain that they are the result of a restoration. Let
us bear in mind, however, that my sample was small (44 out of 35,700 folios)
and that even those few folios might contain restoration efforts that escaped
detection, because they were prepared by scribes of greater skill, who managed to
distribute the text material more evenly. The issue of restoration is clearly impor-
tant, since it sheds light on the evolution of the collection and will need to be
addressed more systematically in future work.
JIABS 22.1 188
First, I wish to examine the evidence itself. Recensional similarities
between Bdp I and Bdp II suggest that both were copied, if not from the
same manuscript, so at least from two copies belonging to the same
recensional tradition. How can we be so sure of this? Let us recall that
there is no textual overlay between the two manuscripts. First, both
manuscripts exhibit a similar recensional pattern vis-a-vis Them spans
ma and Tshal pa. In the majority of cases, Bdp I and Bdp II run very
close to Them spans ma, while in others they either agree with Tshal pa
or introduce their own readings. Although such concurrence cannot be
conclusive on its own (there may have been other traditions in ,West
Tibet sharing this recensional pattern), it allows us to rule out the later
post-15th century editions (both Them spans ma and Tshal pa) as the
source of Bdp II. Second, both manuscripts exhibit a number of
recensional peculiarities that have no parallels in other editions. The
most important example is the inclusion of the heading dkon mchog
rtsegs pa chen po'i mdo' co-marking the beginning of six distinct
sections (Bdp I, fs. 27r9, 40v3, 118r3, 187r6, 198r8-9; Bdp II, f.
In all probability, we are looking here at a remnant of an earlier tradi-
tion that failed to gain acceptance in the later editions of the bKa' 'gyur.
By the time Bdp II was copied from the original, the whole phrase had
become fossilised and was taken over in its entirety, This is indicated by
the inclusion of the non-classical ' a-chuJi after the word mdo at the end
of the heading and the archaic spelling of rtsegs for brtsegs. The reten-
tion of the postscripted 'a-chuJi is particularly significant, since it directs
us to a potential clue about the date when the restoration was carried out.
As discussed above, Bdp II is consistently written in classical orthogra-
phy virtually free from archaisms. The only exception is the enclitic 'a-
chuJi which is affixed to a handful of syllables, including g.yo and dge.
Since the postscripted 'a-chufi is also found in Bdp I, it indicates that the
restoration was carried out at a time when it was still a feature of
Tibetan orthography. Had it been executed after all archaisms fell out of
use, it is very likely that the spelling of the heading (as well as of the
other syllables where the 'a-chuJi is found) would have been standard-
ised to conform to classical orthography, just like the rest of the text. In
45. Cf. folio 162v where we have a bam po reference, but no dKon brtsegs heading.
Here, in the place where the other folios give the heading to the left of the bam po
reference, we find blank space,
other words, Bdp II was copied in the period of transition that bridged
pre-classical and classical orthographic conventions.
If both copies are derived from the same source, we need to ask our-
selves where this original was kept in the intervening years that sepa-
rated the production of Bdp I and Bdp II. Assuming that the restoration
project post-dated the manufacture of Bdp I by more than a century
which, on orthographic grounds, seems likely, for reasons of retrieval,
the restoration-original would have been included in a relatively well-
organised and stable repository. Moreover, somebody at Tabo must have
retained a record of the location of the original. In view of the geo-
graphic isolation of West Tibet from the central districts, it is probable
that the restoration-original was kept at a temple or monastery in Gugel
46. A plausible candidate for such a repository would be Tholing monastery, near
Tsaparang, the capital of the kings of western Tibet. Tabo, like Tholing, was a
royal monastery that counted among its inmates and patrons members of the
monarchy. Inscriptional evidence discovered by TUCCI bears testimony to the
intimate links that existed between these two sites (TUCCI 1935, pp. 112-3).
Tholing itself must have ranked among the most important centres of Buddhist
learning of the day. For many years, it was the residence of Rin chen bzaIi po
who played an pivotal role in the distribution of Buddhist texts to adjacent
temples (SCHERRER-SCHAUB, forthcoming b). In 1026, the whole complex
underwent extensive remodelling which was fully funded by the royal family.
Atisa himself is recorded to have stayed at Tholing on his way to Central Tibet in
1038 (FRANKE 1926, p. 170). Tibetan histories of the region report that his visit
was not an isolated case but that Tholing was populated from early on with
learned monks from India and Tibet who engaged in the translation of Sanskrit
Buddhist texts. In 1076, the rulers of Guge (rTse Ide (1060-1080) and his uncle
Zi ba ' od) invited Indian, Kashrniri and Tibetan savants to attend what became
known as the Council (chos 'khor) of Tholing. This council, which, according to
some sources, lasted for three years (VITALI 1996, pp. 319-21), brought together
the elite of Indo-Tibetan scholasticism and represented the high point of a century
of artistic, religious and literary achievement in West Tibet. In particular, it pro-
vided a powerful intellectual and artistic impulse to Buddhist activities in Guge
and contributed to the continued engagement of the local monks in projects of the
region. Because most of the early activity centered around the translation of
Indian Buddhist texts, it is likely that the production and distribution of
manuscripts remained a focal concern for quite some time. Thus, while we have
no information about the actual content of Tholing library, it is probable that it
housed one of the largest collections of Buddhist literature in West Tibet.
Tholing's centrality to Buddhist activity Guge and its close ties with Tabo
would render it the ideal repository for our restoration-original. Although we
have no evidence that confirms this hypothesis (in principle, the original could
JIABS 22.1 190
Now that we l;1ave ascertained the connection between Bdp I and Bdp
II, I propose to turn our attention to Bdp III and analyse its relationship
vis-a.-vis Bdp I and Bdp II. In total, only nine folios of Bdp III have
survived. Five of them show textual overlap with either Bdp I or Bdp II.
The extent to which the content0f the folios overlies varies from a few
lines (Bdp II, f. llr8-11vlO and Bdp III, f. 62r1-62v2) to several pages
(Bdp I, fs. 23v3-25v2, 44r1-44v2, 198r2-198v10 and Bdp III, 75r1-
76v7, 97r6-97v7, 62r1-62v6). By comparing the passages that are
common to Bdp I, Bdp II and Bdp ill, and checking them against the
readings found in JLQS47 and T, I reached the following conclusions.
Apart Jrom a few transmissional variants and diverging orthogniphic
styles, the text of Bdp II and Bdp ill is virtually identical. I noted not a
single variant that would allow us to posit a different recensional affilia-
tion for Bdp II and Bdp ill. I found also no case where either of them
preserves an independent reading that is not attested in Them spans rna
and Tshal pa. However, in view of the limitations of my evidence (the
overlay consists of only 12 and 9 lines respectively), neither of these
observations should be given too much weight.
Comparison between Bdp I and Bdp ill turned out to be more reward-
ing and revealed a number of interesting differences. For example, in
Chapter Two (Bdp I, f. 24v4) we meet with the following sentence: lam
der myi gari tsam du me tog gis chald par bkram mo. This reading is also
found in J, L and Q. In Bdp ill (76r1), the same sentence reads: lam der
myi gari tsam du me tog gi chald par bkari no. This version is supported
have been kept in any number of places adjacent to Tabo), it is difficult to think of
a place similarly equipped as Tholing. For centuries the focal point of scholarly
activity in Western Tibet and in receipt of steady fmancial support from the royal
family, there would have been few institutions rivalling its library in contents and
Such a centrality of Tholing to West Tibetan manuscript manufacture echoes
an hypothesis developed by KLIMBURG-SALTER in connection with research on
manuscript illuminations. Commenting on the uniformly high quality of the
calligraphy of the manuscripts discovered in West Tibet, she concludes that the
writing and copying workshops of western Tibet must have been under some
form of central control (KLlMBURG-SALTER 1994b, p. 441).
47. The sigla used for the printed editions and manuscripts consulted in this study are
those proposed by Paul HARRISON and Helmut EIMER in "Kanjur and Tanjur
Sigla: A Proposal for Standardisation", in Tibetan Studies, Proceedings of the 7th
Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Graz 1995, vol. 1,
ed. by Helmut Krasser et ai, Wien 1997, pp. xvii-xx.
by S, Fl and F2. The Sanskrit for me tog gis chald par bkram pa was
probably (Mvy 6059), meaning "bestrewn with flowers".
The form me tog gi chald par bkan pa, best rendered as "evenly filled
with flowers" (where me tog gi is an error for me tog gis as is attested in
N (Ga, f. 41 vI, and possibly representing Skt. is not
recorded in the Mahiivyutpatti. From a text-critical point of view, bkan
no may very well constitute a graphically related inner-tibetan lectio
facilior for kbram mo. Since me tog gis chald par bkram pa became
apparently the translation for prescribed after the Great
Revision, it is to be preferred here.
If this is the case, the passages preserved in Bdp III must represent an
umevised translation that was either prepared before the standardisation
of the 8th/9th century or was carried out in an area that remained unaf-
fected by its prescriptions. Significantly, this is not an isolated case. In a
verse in Chapter Eleven we meet with another instance where Bdp III
appears to contain a pre-revision reading. Here, Bdp I (f. 198v5-6) reads
thos nas gnod sems spon bar 'gyur against Bdp III (62v3) thos nas gnod
pa spon bar 'gyur. Once again, the Mahiivyutpatti confirms the
interpretation that is found in Bdp I, supplying vyiipiidiit prativiratif:z for
gnod sems spon ba (Mvy 1697), but does not list a Sanskrit equivalent
for Bdp III gnod pa spon ba. At first sight, it is tempting to conclude
that Bdp I contains also here the revised (and preferred) rendering.
However, in this case the situation is more ambiguous, since Bdp I is the
only version that gives gnod sems spon ba and it is not inconceivable
that we are looking at a simple copying mistake where a common word
(gnod sems) is substituted for a less common word (gnod pa).
The last significant discrepancy between Bdp I and Bdp III revolves
around the Ratnakii!a references cited above. The sixth occurrence (f.
198r8-9) is located in a passage that has a counterpart in Bdp III. Here,
however, the reference is not given (f. 62r5). As far as I can see, this can
have only one reason. In Bdp I the heading dkon mchog rtsegs pa chen
po'i mdo' is supplied every time a bam po comes to an end. In fact, it
occurs invariably in conjunction with bam po references. In the relevant
passage in Bdp III, the bam po reference that divides the text of Bdp I
(bam po bcu bdun pa) is not found. There is no indication why the bam
po reference is missing here, though it is also left out in the Qianlong,
Lithang, Derge and Phug brag bKa' 'gyurs. Since the heading does not
occur on its own, perhaps the omission of the bam po reference in Bdp
III precluded the inclusion of the dKon brtsegs heading. In any event, it
JIABS 22.1 192
demonstrates that Bdp III was based on an altogether different recension
that did not feature either the bam po reference or the dKon brtsegs
heading in the first place. Let us recall that it is not found in a!1y version
(with or without bam po reference) other than Bdp I and its cognate
restoration folios of Bdp II. This turns the presence/absence of the
heading into a major recensional characteristic which corroborates our
observations in the previous section where we proposed the indepen-
dence of Bdp I. By implication, it also associates the inclusion of bam
po references with the 8th/9th-century revision activity, since they are
not found in the umevised Bdp III.
Historical Considerations
This discourse leads us to another area of enquiry, namely, the history of
our Bodhisattvapitaka manuscripts. The exact dates of their production
are not known. Nor do we possess any information about the circum-
stances in which they were prepared. We move to more secure grounds
when we turn to their relative chronology. Since Bdp II is the outcome
of a restoration effort aimed at re-constituting Bdp I, it must have been
completed after Bdp I. We have seen that this is confirmed by paleo-
graphic and codicologic research. While it is not possible to link either
of the manuscripts to anyone century, orthographic differences suggest
that their productions were separated by at least three centuries. This
calculation is based on the assumption that Bdp I is a 11th/12th century
manuscript, and that most of its orthographic conventions did not persist
beyond the 14th century.
The chronological relationship between Bdp I and Bdp III is more
complex. Since Bdp I displays traces of terminologic revision and con-
tains structural additions that are not found in Bdp III, but is otherwise
identical, it would seem that Bdp I postdates Bdp III. It may have
descended from the same archetype, but was later checked against an-
other version, leading to the inclusion of the bam po and dKon brtsegs
markers, or it represents a revised copy of Bdp III. Either way, Bdp I
and Bdp III are independent from the other major bKa' 'gyur editions.
Because they share many orthographic features, it is tempting to date
them to roughly the same period, but we have seen that orthography is
no reliable guide to the age of a text. Differences in paper quality,
format and margin signature suggest that they belonged to different
projects and were probably not prepared in the same location.
Several" of its codico10gic features link Bdp I with artistic and paleo-
graphic currents that prevailed in West Tibet during the 11th and 12th
centuries. Beyond this, the manuscript reveals very little about its origin.
Our best hope lies in historical data that is available from other sources.
Inscriptional evidence suggests that the temple of Tabo was founded in
996 and renovated in 1042. Assuming that the Tabo manuscripts were
actually created at the temple, or nearby on behalf of the temple author-
ities, the late tenth century becomes our terminus post quem. Since Bdp I
contains illuminations that betray the artistic style characteristic of the
Guge/Purang school, it is certain to be a local production. Tradition
reports that Rin chen bzail po furnished the temple with its first set of
manuscripts. It is improbable that our manuscripts belonged to this
initial supply of books since his donations consisted only of Ser Phyin
and mDo mail materials. Multi-volume dKon brtsegs manuscripts are not
mentioned in any of our sources, though they may have been presented
afterwards. Political upheaval in West Tibet during the 17th, 18th and
19th centuries depleted the resources of the population and led to a
number of violent raids on the monastery and its library, some appar-
ently aimed at the destruction of the manuscripts themselves. In short, I
doubt that significant amounts of books were added to the collection
after the 17th/18th century, when the fortunes of the region were clearly
on the decline.
SCHERRER-SCHAUB's codicologic investigations into the origin and
affiliation of the Tabo documents confirm these chronological
Folio format, paper quality, orthography and ornamental
miscellanea prompted her to date the Bdp I fragment to the 11 th/12th
century. 50 This is corroborated by KLIMBURG-SALTER's art-historical
analysis of the miniatures.
It would also account for the generally high
production standard which modern writers have often associated with
manuscripts of that period.
The thirteen folios that belong to Bdp II were part of a restoration
project aimed at reconstituting the full text of Bdp 1. Until further evi-
48. L. PETECH 1988, pp. 361-368; L. PETECH 1977, pp. 57-152, esp. 138-152; E.
STEINKELLNER 1994, pp. 132-133.
49. C. SCHERRER-SCHAUB, forthcoming a.
50. C. SCHERRER-SCHAUB & G. BONANI, forthcoming.
51. D. Klimburg-Salter, personal communication, October 1998.
52. E.g., D. KLIMBURG-SALTER 1994b, pp. 54-6.
JIABS 22.1 194
dence has come to light, I propose to place Bdp II into the 14th to 16th
centuries. Our examination of the restoration project has demonstrated
that it cannot have been prepared much later. First, paleographic re-
search has indicated that the vast majority of Tabo texts are pre-16th
century productions. Second, it would seem unlikely that Bdp II was
produced after the conquest of Guge by the King of Ladakh in 1630,
since the economic and political reverberations of this defeat must have
curtailed large-scale religious sponsorship for many years to come.
Third, since the manuscript itself is not in pristine condition, it must
have been included in the collection before the last great devastation(s)
of the library in the 19th century. For how long we do not know.' The
rather sloppy production of Bdp II suggests that the restoration was
either executed in a hurry or, perhaps more likely, that it was part of an
insufficiently-funded project that had to make do with inferior materials
and ill-trained scribes. Thus, its production would have taken place after
the Golden Age of West Tibet when the region had grown into a pros-
perous principality and before the 17th century. This would narrow
down the period of origin to the 14th/15th centuries.
The dates of Bdp III are less certain. Paper quality, format and margin
content suggest that the production of this manuscript was part of a sepa-
rate project. Judging by its external appearance, it could belong to the
first phase of West Tibetan manuscript production. 54 Art-historical and
codicologic studies have come to associate small folio sizes, low num-
bers of text-lines and single mgo yig with the 11th/12th centuries.
the other hand, Bdp III lacks several characteristics that are normally
included in folios of this period, such as horizontal ligatures, ornamental
symbols, colour miniatures and binding-holes. At the same time, it con-
tains a number of orthographic features that have been observed in older
materials and belong to the pre-classical period. Since I have found no
signs of excessive or overzealous application these would appear to be
genuine. 56 While the absence of such misapplication cannot be taken as
conclusive evidence for the antiquity of a manuscript (the imitation
53. For a magistral account of the history of West Tibet and the events leading up to
the downfall of Guge in the 17th century, see: L. PETECH 1988, pp. 369-394, cf.
also L. PETECH 1997.
54. J. PANGLUNG 1994, pp. 162-3; SCHERRER-SCHAUB, forthcoming a.
1994a, pp. 41-53; 1994b, pp. 62-3.
56. Cf. H. TAUSCHER 1994, p. 176; T. TOMABECHI, forthcoming.
might have been carried out by a more skilful scribe), at least it does not
rule it out. We have seen that genuine archaisms ceased to be employed
by the end of the 13th century when the large-scale production of
manuscripts, which for practical reasons required greater orthographic
standardisation, began. To sum up, if its orthography reflects spelling
conventions that prevailed when the manuscript was prepared, we can
conclude that Bdp III was produced before the 14th century.
This, however, does not tell us anything about the historical context in
which it was prepared. It is well known that classical and pre-classical
styles coexisted for several centuries in the oasis towns of Central Asia.
The Tunhuang documents are a good example where we find specimens
of both styles side by side. The majority of the Tunhuang Tibetica is
thought to date to the 9th and 10th centuries. The caves themselves were
sealed around 1032/3. In other words, the end of the Tunhuang era
coincides with the beginning of the first wave of manuscript productions
in West Tibet. SCHERRER-SCHAUB has shown that the manuscripts
from Tabo share many codicologic features with their counterparts in
Tunhuang, and could therefore represent the continuation of an ancient
manuscript tradition. As a result, we cannot rule out that pre-classical
and classical styles coexisted also at Tabo. This means that orthographic
archaisms cease to be a reliable indicator for dating manuscripts that
were written before the 14th century.
These deliberations allow us now deduce the following for our Bdp III
fragment: If we accept its archaisms to be genuine, we may assume that
it is a pre-14th century production. Some of its codicologic features,
supported by the use of pre-revision terminology, suggest that it was
written well before the 14th century and may go back to the 11th cen-
tury. Other characteristics rule out such an early date, most notably the
absence of binding-circles and lack of horizontal ligatures. Philological
analysis has revealed that its text preserves readings that predate terms
found in Bdp 1. Thus, it might have been produced before Bdp I, but it.
could equally well constitute a later copy of an old recensional tradition.'
There are many reasons why the dating of a manuscript is significant:
it affects our understanding of the historical setting in which it was.
created, it defines the geographic context of production and stratifies the
doctrinal developments enshrined in its propositions. And yet, we must
guard ourselves from overrating the importance of the physical age of a
document. For there are many areas of research which are not directly
influenced by chronological issues. From the text-critical point of view,
JIABS 22.1 196
for one, the actual date of is far less relevant than the recen-
sional traits embedded in its text and their stemmatic link to other sur-
viving witnesses. We noted already the usefulness of text-crjticism in
establishing the internal connections between our manuscripts. In the
coming section, I shall resort again to text-critical methodology in order
to unravel their relationship with the main recensions of the bKa' 'gyur.
Text-Critical Observations
From the very outset (and, in particular, since the IATS Fagernes con-
ference in 1992), the Tabo Manuscript Preservation Project included
scholars with a strong interest in the history of the Tibetan b Ka' , gyur
and bsTan 'gyur. Because of the predominantly canonical content of the
collection, and the great promises its manuscripts held for bKa' 'gyur
research, teams of philologists soon made their way to the remote valley
in Spiti where Tabo is located. TAUSCHER, TOMABECHI, SCHERRER-
SCHAUB and, in particular, HARRISON, all made important contribu-
tions by mapping out the stemmata of selected Tabo manuscripts and by .
deFIning the historical context of their production.
In a nutshell, their [mdings can be summed up as follows: All investi-
gations have come to the conclusion that the Tabo material represents a
line of transmission that is independent of the major canonical recen-
sions (both for the bKa' 'gyur and bsTan 'gyur) and reflects versions of
the texts certain to predate the proto-canonical compilations of the 14th
century.57 Its manuscripts proffer many readings of their own that are
preferable to the shared readings of all other exemplars. These may de-
rive from versions that had been re-checked against Sanskrit manuscripts
or from Tibetan predecessors chronologically close to the original trans-
Whileit was relatively straightforward to disentangle the stem-
ma of the bsTan 'gyur material, unraveling of the bKa' 'gyur threads
turned out to be more complicated, mainly due to the complexity of its
lines of transmission. The picture that emerges shows that the Tabo
material is very close to the Them spans ma line, but not itself a Them
spans ma derivative, since it follows on many occasions Tshal pa
readings against transmissional errors contained in Them spans ma
57. H. TAUSCHER 1994, p. 18l.
58. P. HARRISON, forthcoming.
Thus fai:, practically all new studies have confirmed this bidirectional
pattern of reference to the principal bKa' 'gyur lines. Corroborated by
orthographic archaisms and a number of peculiar readings that remain
unattested elsewhere, we can be confident to have found in the Tabo
texts descendants from an independent and older tradition that predates
all known proto-canonical and canonical compilations. However, until
more is known about the history of Tabo monastery and its collection,
the foundations for our conclusions remain thin since they are always
text-specific. In total, only about one dozen works have been studied,
and while they all point in the same direction, one cannot rule out that
future investigations may call for a qualification of current thinking.
It is with these thoughts in mind that I shall now develop my stem-
matic examination of the three Bodhisattvapi!aka fragments. For the
time being, this analysis has to be limited to the content of Chapter
Eleven. I have selected Chapter Eleven as the starting point for my
investigation, since it is here that my text-critical work has progressed
furthest, including the readings of nine canonical versions: London (L),
sTog (S), Tokyo (T), Lithang (J), Qianlong (Q), Derge (D), Narthang
(N), Phug brag (F1, F2) and one Tunhuang fragment (TH). In total,
35% of Chapter 11 is preserved, spread over three manuscripts (Bdp I,
Bdp II and Bdp III). In proportion to the Bodhisattvapi!aka's overall
survival rate (48%), it is therefore under-represented by approximately
one quarter. Nevertheless, because the surviving passages of Chapter
Eleven contain a number of key variants, it is quite legitimate to make it
the basis for our analysis.
Comparison of the Tabo readings (A) with the edited versions of the
canonical compilations reveals a fairly complicated picture of multiple
relations. In order to bring clarity into this web of interconnections, I
have developed my examination around a number of key issues that
were brought out in previous text-critical work on the collection.
The underlying currents are best encapsulated in a set of questions.
How close are L, S and T to A? Are there many readings where A does
not agree with L, Sand T, corroborating A's independence from Them
spans ma? Does A contain unique variants (lectio singularis) unattested
in other edited witnesses? Are there instances where A agrees either with
L, SorT against the other two? Does A share indicative errors with
either L, S or T? To what degree does A lack the transmissional corrup-
tions found in LST and carry in their stead either independent readings
JIABS 22.1 198
or variants found in the Tshal pa witnesses (JQN)? Can we detect any
major recensional differences between A and F1 or F2?
Even the most cursory of inspections reveals immediately that A is
very close to the Them spans ma versions. With a few exceptions where
A either improves on corrupted readings found in LST, or proposes
alternative independents, A, L, Sand T nm virtually parallel. And yet,
since we find in a number of passages evidence of recensional variation
A cannot be an immediate descendent from the Them spans ma
prototype. All in all, the surviving folios of Chapter Eleven contain
seven instances that show significant disagreement between A a n ~ S,
with A's reading usually supported by one or more representatives of the
Tshal pa line. In addition, I have noticed about two dozen transmissional
variants shared by Bdp I and Bdp III. While these do not affect the
reading of the text substantially, they point to a degree of recensiona1
communality. Typically, they include trivial spelling variants (mainly
affecting prescripts, superscripts and postscripts), omissions of case par-
ticles, numerals and items in enumerations as well as the insertion of
additional, but non-essential syllables (e.g., ni, de, zes, dan).59 In the
majority of cases, the Tshal pa readings shared by A are superior to
those found in LST, and are probably the outcome of inadvertent
copying/editing slips during the Them spans ma production, or indeed
corruptions introduced into later copies.
To begin with, I propose to look at those cases where A agrees with
either Them spans ma or Tshal pa. In order to eliminate inconsequential
unique readings, we need to look at those cases where the Tabo
manuscripts differ from L, S or T against the other editions.
First, we have a number of discrepancies involving homophones. An
interesting case is found in A on folio 201 v5 where we read rtsod pa 'i
riiog pa (in agreement with TJDNF1) against S which has rtson pa'i
riiog pa (F2 reads dus pa'i riiog shadowing Q that gives dus nan pa'i
riiog pa). While rtsod pa is clearly an improvement over rtson pa, riiog
59. It is also worth drawing attention to the distribution-ratio of the variant readings,
since they are not equally spread over the eleven folios. The vast majority of
transmissional differences are found on folio 210 (Ga/Ma ++ bcu), recto and
verso. This folio teems with readings that are plainly wrong and absurd. On the
previous folios, most of the variants are recensional in nature, that is to say, they
are usually substantial and attested in one or more of the other editions. While this
may not be of great importance, other than indicating the scribe's increasing
slackness as he copied out the manuscript, it does remind us of the human factor
involved in the production of manuscripts.
pa (iivila) remains problematic, since it does not really fit into the
context. It is only when we turn to L that things become clearer. Here
we find rtsod pa'i snog pa, meaning "seeking out quarrel", which makes
perfect sense in the context and helps us to explain the reading of S. The
syllable rtsod was probably mixed up with its near-homophone rtson
and the superscript sa was confused with superscript ra, as it is often
observed above na (e.g., snin, rnin; sned, rfied).61 In these and other
readings, S gives lectiones singulares which, from a text-critical point of
view, are inconclusive, other than showing that A cannot be a copy of S,
which in any case was never a serious possibility.62
Next, there are variants where the flow of contamination is not easily
discerned. On folio 205v8, for example, we find the phrase don gsal
ba'i yi ge yons su byan ba. This version is also attested in LJQDFIF2.
However, ST and N read differently: don gsal ba'i ye ses yons su byan
ba. Context would seem to support yi ge, since our phrase is an example
of the bodhisattva's analytical knowledge of language (niruktipratisa7!l-
vid). Chances are that we are looking at a transmissional variant caused
by the similarity of the two graphemes - mistaking ye ses for yi ge -
though it is difficult to determine where exactly this contamination
stemmed from. Since Tabo agrees with Tshal pa here, it is unlikely to be
a Them spans ma derivative. On the other hand, yi ge is also found in L
which is associated with Them spans mao This would indicate that L was
exposed to Tshal pa influence at some point. Moreover, why should N
carry a probable Them spans ma variant (ST), given that it is usually
ranked among the less conflated Tshal pa witnesses? If nothing else, it is
perhaps a reminder of the largely fluid composition of our 'modern'
60. It is also possible that a badly formed da was misread as a na. Note that in T (f.
250r2) the postscripted da has been tempered with, and was possibly redrawn
from an original na.
61. Another example occurs in a section about the four analytical knowledge
(pratisaJ!1vid). Here, we read in S sbrui gdug ita bur ses pa against sbrul gdug
pa dan mtshuns par ses pa which is found in all other versions, including A
(Bdp I, f. 204r8).
62. Another homophone variant is found on folio 201r3. Here we read zlas pa for S
, das pa. This is a potentially significant case, since it is one of the few examples
where the two Phug brag versions disagree. FI follows S (although omitting part
of the sentence), while F2 reads with all other editions, giving the correct zias pa.
This would appear to be an indicative error between Sand FI, suggesting close
textual communality between the two versions.
JIABS 22.1 200
editions, where texts with different histories lie side by side representing
strands of transmission that often have little in common.
Then, we have several cases where A either omits syllables-that are
included in the other versions of the text or where it adds material that is
not found elsewhere. By their very nature, omissions and additions are
difficult to evaluate, though I believe that I have found three cases
where the situation is relatively clear.
First, in the context of the analytic knowledge of designations
(dharmapratisa1J1vid), S includes, in a list of inclinations arising in
sentient beings, against most other editions (JQNDLFIF2, but not T),
the following phrase: nan dan phyi rot tu 'dod chags med pa dan. Since
this phrase occurs also in T, it is safe to asSume that we are looking here
at a genuine Them spans rna reading. The Tabo manuscript (Bdp I, f.
205r7), because it does not agree with Sand T, but follows the Tshal pa
version of this sentence, must be independent of Them spans rna at this
point. Once again we note that L reads against Sand T but with the
Tshal pa editions. Since the insertion of nan dan phyi rot tu 'dod chags
med pa dan complements an argument that is otherwise defective, it is
safe to adapt it here as the preferred reading.
The second example concerns the phrase stod pa 'j tshig ses which is
found in STND, but which is not included in either A (Bdp I, f. 205v6)
or in LJQF1F2. Because Sand T share this variant, we may infer that
the inclusion of stod pa 'i tshig ses constitutes a Them spans rna reading.
For a third time, L differs and follows Tshal pa. Again, context suggests
that Them spans rna has the correct version, since stod pa'i tshig ses
complements smad pa'i tshig ses and integrates it into the polarised
structure that dominates the rest of the paragraph: I bsdus ba'i tshig ses I
rgyas pa 'i tshig ses I smad pa 'i tshig ses I stod pa'i tshig ses I 'das pa 'i
tshig ses I ma 'ons ba'i tshig ses I da !tar byun ba'i tshig ses I. Because
Tabo (A) follows here Tshal pa (JQ) against Them spans rna (ST), it
cannot be a direct descendant of either of them.
My last example touches on a recensional omission/addition that has
already been discussed. It is the bam po bcu bdun pa reference that is
given in A on folio 198r9 of Bdp 1. We have seen that in the Bodhi-
sattvap(taka the bam po indicators occur only in the Them spans rna
versions. Thus, their inclusion in A aligns our Tabo manuscripts with
63. For more detail on the pre-history of the bKa' 'gyur, see: P. SKILLING 1997, in
particular, pp. 102-104.
the Them spans rna readings of LST. We know that this is not true for
other texts. In the Drumakinnaraparip!ccha and Pratyutpannabuddha-
sal!1mukhavasthitasamadhisLltra, for example, the insertion of bam po
markers is the work of the Tshal pa.
What have we learned from these examples? First, it has become clear,
I think, that A must be independent of both Them spans rna and Tshal
pa. To begin with, we had two cases where A reads with Tshal pa
against Them spans rna. Next, we had a reading where A appeared inti-
mately associated with Them spans rna. This connection is further
underlined by the numerous other (minor) cases found throughout the
text where A closely shadows LST. Because A agrees sometimes with
Tshal pa and sometimes with Them spans rna, it cannot be derived from
either version. Second, we noted a number of unique readings in sTog
which sensitised us to the various factors - oral and scriptural - that
affected the transmission process. Third, on two occasions when A
agreed with Tshal pa, L shared the readings of the Tabo manuscript.
The discrepancy within the Them spans rna lineage could have been
brought about by the spatial and temporal distance that separates both S
and T from the original Them spans rna manuscript(s). S migrated from
Gyantse via Bhutan to Ladakh and T was prepared relatively late in the
19th century (1858-1878). If we accept that such factors influenced the
course of bKa' 'gyur formation, we would have in L a witness that is
significantly closer to the Them spans rna original than the other two
descendents. In other words, L agrees here with A against ST because it
was produced in the same West Tibetan text-milieu as the Tabo material
and, left behind in isolation, escaped contamination through later
Next, I propose to turn our attention to those readings that are only
found in A. This will tell us whether A's independence is exclusively
defined through its relationship vis-a.-vis Them spans rna and Tshal pa,
or whether A contains variants that set it apart from all other editions. In
order to assess the status of these readings, we need to examine their
origin, in particular if they are testimony of recensional improvement,
possibly achieved through reference to another source. Again, leaving
orthographic variants and trivial omissions aside, I have noticed three
discrepancies that are worthy of our attention. The first case, involving
substitution of the phrase gnod pa spon ba for gnod sems spon ba has
64. P. HARRISON 1992, p. xliv, n71.
JIABS 22.1 202
already been referred to. Gnod sems spon ba is cited in the Mahii-
vyutpatti as vyiipiidiit prativiratif:z, but no equivalent is given for gnod pa
spon ba. Although it is tempting to see in gnod sems spon ba an
improvement over gnod pa spon ba, we have to be carefuL First, gnod
sems spon ba is a leetio singularis, and therefore does not carry much
weight on its own. Second, because it is a common term in Buddhist lit-
erature, gnod sems could simply be a leetio jaeilior for the original and
correct gnod pa.
Another unique reading is found on folio 201v5-10 where A inserts
the terminative particle du after the syllables tshul biin. For e x a m p ~ e , in
line 9 we read tshul biin du 'jug pa 'di dan I tshul biin du mthon ba 'di
dan I ji Ita ba biin du mthon ba'i rgyu mthun pa 'di against tshul biin du
'jug pa 'di dan I tshul biin mthon ba 'di dan I ji Ita ba biin du mthon
ba'i rgyu mthun pa 'di found in all other versions. The insertion of du
renders the sentence structures perfectly parallel and picks up on match-
ing phrases in the preceding sections. Nevertheless, because the principle
praestat Ieetio diffieilior would favour tshul biin mthon ba over tshul
biin du mthon ba, it is possible that this too could be a mechanical error.
Finally, there is the RatnakL(ta reference dkon mehog rtsegs pa ehen
po'i mdo' which is only found in A. The size, nature and positioning of
the reference allow us to rule out a transmissional blunder. Since it is
not included in any other version of the text, it is our best piece of evi-
dence yet for A's independence from both Them spans ma and Tshal pa.
If we now take a step back from our data and examine how the Tabo
versions fit in the overall stemma of the Tibetan bKa' 'gyur, it will be
helpful to return to the questions that we raised earlier. We asked our-
selves whether there is sufficient evidence to determine the position of A
vis-a.-vis 'Ihems spans ma and Tshal pa. We also enquired into the rela-
tionship between A, L, S and T, and sought to establish if there is a con-
nection with the two Phug brag versions and the Tunhuang documents.
In view of the close concurrence of ALST, it seems certain that all
four versions originated in a shared textual milieu, possibly stemming
from a common West Tibetan ancestor. S features a number of unique
readings, most of which, upon examination, turned out to be transmis-
sional variants. In three cases, L deviated from Sand T, following A
and the Tshal pa witnesses instead. This would seem to suggest that, for
reasons cited above, A is recensionally somewhat clbser to L than to the
other two Them spans ma versions. On the other hand, we know that A
cannot be derived from Them spans ma itself, since it agrees in a
number of cases with the Tshal pa lineage. We looked at three examples
featuring substantial omissions/ additions. In two cases, A read with
Tshal pa, in one case with Them spans rna. Next, we had three instances
where A gives independent readings. While two of these were not
conclusive on their own, the third, consisting of repeated RatnakT1ra
references clearly was.
Just where its readings come from is unclear. The complexity of the
situation is exemplified by the variant-spellings found in the phrase rtson
pa'i rnog pa (5), rtsod pa'i rnog pa (A TJQNDFIF2) and rtsod pa'i
snog pa (L). On the One hand, because A does not agree with either 5 or
L (even though 5 and L differ themselves), but with Tshal pa and Phug
brag, A cannot be directly descended from the Them spans rna manu-
script(s). On the other hand, because in most other readings it is very
close to both 5, T and in particular to L, it cannot belong to the Tshal pa
lineage either. The most likely scenario remains that it was derived from
an earlier recension of a translation which was related to the predecessor
of the Them spans rna manuscript(s). The exact recensional position of
this hyparchetype is not known. Evidence from Pelliot 977, which
deviates substantially from all manuscripts and editions, indicates that it
is unrelated to the version from Tunhuang.
Bdp III is the oldest
surviving descendant. Once copied from the hyparchetype during the
11 thl12th-century cultural revival of West Tibet, it was left behind at
Tabo which by then had become a major hub of religious activity in the
region. Here it remained isolated and forgotten. Bdp I belongs to the
same lineage, but, showing traces of revision, is somewhat later. Bdp II
is a restoration manuscript, probably based on a sister or daughter copy
of Bdp I, that was produced between the 14th and 16th century.
What then is the relationship between the other editions consulted for
this paper? D and 5 agree in most cases, as we have come to expect from
65. Note, however, that the overlap between Pelliot 997 and A is very small. In fact,
it amounts to no more than one folio in both A (f. 21Orl-21OvlO) and Pelliot (fs.
4r4-5r4). Throughout this folio, there is not a single line where both versions
agree completely. Pelliot 977 substitutes words, rephrases entire clauses and
introduces new material. In my view, it is almost certain that Pelliot 977
represents an entirely different translation, probably drafted from another Sanskrit
manuscript. But this is another story.
JIABS 22.1 204
other text-critical studies.
Apart from one omission/addition, and a
number of lectiones singulares in S, both versions run virtually parallel.
Fl and F2 are very similar to each other, sometimes agreeing with Tshal
pa, sometimes with Them spans mao Because I have not found any
indicative errors in the sections examined, we cannot assume that they
are copies of the same manuscript. This, however, was never a real
possibility, since both versions vary in size (the mDo sde version is by
29 folios shorter than the dKon brtsegs version). We noted two cases
where N agrees with Them spans ma (ST) against Tshal pa, which
points to a degree of textual conflation in N. Finally, we had two
readings where L agreed with the Tshal pa variants (JQ) against Them
spans mao This would seem to indicate that at some stage L was exposed
to a branch of the Tshal pa line.
It is important to bear in mind that all of the above is text-specific and
applies only to the Bodhisattvapitaka. Most scholars working in the field
will agree that it is very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to make
generally valid claims about the recensional history of even a small
group of affiliated texts, let alone about a collection as large and diverse
as that of Tabo. Progress will be pointstakingly slow and it could be
years before we can say anything definite about the collection's origins
and the pattern of transmission that shaped its composition. In the end,
the final picture could well be so labyrinthine that the stemmatic
complexity might rival the physical disorder encountered when we first
set foot in Tabo.
66. H. EIMER: "Zur Beurteilung der Textqualitat der Kanjurhandschrift aus dem
Palast in Tog/Ladakh," in Indological and Buddhist Studies: Volume in Honour
of Prof l. W. de long on his Sixieth Birthday, ed. LA Hercus, et al., Canberra
1982,pp. 121-136,esp.pp. 127, 129
Tabo/sTog Palace Mss Folio Concordance
Tabo mss 9 & 252 folio sTag 11.12 folio Chapter
9 (Ga dgu) 14r2-15vS Chapter 1
11 (Ga beu gcig) 17r4-18v4
14-15 (Ga beu gii, bevo lila) 21v5-24v7
17-19 (Ga beu bdun to beu dgu) 26r3-30r7
20-21 (Ga ii.i su tham pa, ner cig) 30r7-33r2
22-25 (Ga ner gnis to nya Iia) 33r2-38r3 Chapter 2
27 (Ga iier bdun) 40rl-41r5
28 (Ga ner brgyad) 41r5-42v4 Chapter 3
32-33 (Ga so iiis, so gsum) 46v7-49v2
34 (Ga so bii) 49v2-50v7 Chapter 4
38-40 (Ga so brgyad to bti beu tham pal 55r3-59r5
44 (Ga ii bii) 62v7-64r4
50-51 (Ga Ilia beu tham pa, Iia gcig) 70r6-72v6
53-56 (Ga Iia gsum to lia drug) 74r2-79r4
58-59 (Ga Iia brgyad, Iia dgu) 80r7-83r1
62-63 (Ga ro gnis, ro gsum) 85v2-88r7
67-69 (Ga ro bdun to ro dgu) 92v5-97r7
72-73 (Ga don giiis, don gsum) 100r6-1O I v5
74v (Ga don bii recto, emended to Ga gya bii) 102v 1-103r5
74r (Ga don bii verso, emended to Ga gya bii) 103r5-104r2
78 (Ga don brgyad, emended to Ga gya brgyad) 109r7 -llOv7
75 (Ga don lila, emended to Ga gya Ilia) 119v7-121vl
76 (Ga don drug, emended to Ga gya drug) 12Ivl-123r1
96 (Ga go drug) 135v7-137r6 Chapter 5
98 (Ga go brgyad) 138v6-140r7
99 (Ga go dgu) 14Or7-142r1
100 (Ga brgya tham pal 142rl-143v2
101 (GaJNa + geig) 143v2-145r3 Chapter 6
103-105 (GaJNa + gsum to Ilia) 146v3-151 r3
107 (GaJNa + bdun) I 52v3-154r2 Chapter 7
108-109 (Ga/Na + rgyad, dgu) 154r2-157r3
JIABS 22.1 206
lID (GalNa + bcu t h ~ m pal
112 (GalNa + bcu giiis)
116-120 (GalNa I bcu drug to iii su tham pal
122-125 (GalNa I fier fiis to fier Ina)
127 (GalNa I fier bdun)
131 (GalNa I so gcig)
152 (GalNa I na gfiis)
154-155 (GalNa I na bii, na Ina)
158 (GalNa na rgyad)
159 (GalNa I na dgu)
162 (GalNa I ro gfiis)
164-167 (GaiNa I ro bii to ro bdun)
168 (GalNa ro rgyad)
178 (GalNa I don brgyad)
181-182 (GalNa I gya gcig, gya giiis)
185 (GalNa I gya Ina)
187-195 (GalNa I gya bdun to go Ina)
197-198 (GalNal go bdun, go brgyad)
200 (GalNa I giii brgya)
201-202 (GalMa + + gcig, giiis)
204-205 (GalMa + + bii, Ina)
208 (GalMa + + brgyad)
2ID (GalMa + + bcu)
Tabo ms 299
53 (na gsum)
55 (na Ina)
62 (ro gnis)
75-76 (don Ina, don drug)
89-90 (gya dgu, go tham pal
97 (go bdun)
62 (ro giiis)
Page numbers in plain text refer to Bdp I
Page numbers in bold text refer to Bdp II
269v7 -271 r6
306r5-31 Ov6
318r7 -320rl
sTog 11.12 folio
Chapter 9
Chapter ID
Chapter II
Chapter I
Chapter 2
Chapter 4
Chapter II
Eimer, Helmut
"Remarks on the bam po Numbers in the Extensive Tibetan
MahiiparinirvaI).asiitra," in Facets of Indian Culture: Gustav Roth
Felicitation Volume Published on the Occasion of His 82nd Birthday,
Patna: Bihar Purvavid Parishad 1988, pp. 465-472.
"Einige Bemerkungen zu Handschriftenfunden aus GugelWesttibet,"
ZAS 22: 244-255.
"Zwei in Tsaparang gefundene Fragmente aus dem tibetischen
Vinaya", ZAS 25: 7-27.
forthcoming a "Ein Fragment des Rab tu 'bYUIi ba'i gii aus Tsaparang," Festschrift
Klaus Sag aster.
forthcoming b "A Fragment of the Tibetan MahiiparinirvaI).asiitra Found in Tabo,"
Serie Orientalia Roma.
Franke, A. H.
Harrison, Paul
Antiquities of Indian Tibet, Part I: Personal Narrative, Calcutta.
Antiquities of Indian Tibet, Part II: The Chronicles of Ladakh and
Minor Chronicles, Calcutta.
Druma-kinnara-raja-paripTccha-sutra: A Critical Edition of the
Tibetan Text (Recension A) based on Eight Editions of the Kanjur and
the Dunhuang Manuscript Fragment, Studia Philologica Buddhica,
Monograph Series 7, Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist
"Preliminary Notes on a gZung 'dus Manuscript from Tabo", in
Festgabe fUr Helmut Eimer, Indica et Tibetica 28,
Swisttal, pp. 49-68.
forthcoming "Philology in the Field: Some Comments on Selected mDo mang
Texts in the Tabo Collection", East and West.
Klimburg-Salter, Deborah
1985 "Tucci Archives Preliminary Study, 1: Notes on the Chronology ofTa
pho Du khan", East and West 35: 11-41.
1988 "Tucci Archives Preliminary Study, 2: The Life of the Buddha in
Western Himalayas Monastic Art and Its Indian Origins", East and
West 38: 189-214.
1990 "Tucci Himalayan Archives Report, 1: The 1989 Expedition to the
Western Himalayas and a Retrospective View of the 1933 Tucci
Expedition", East and West 40: 145-171.
* [Editor's note: articles designated as forthcoming in East and West will appear in
a separate volume in the Serie Orientale Roma.]
nABS 22.1
Lalou, Marcelle
Lindtner, Chr.
"In40-Tibetan Miniature Painting from Himache1 Pradesh", in Tibetan
Studies, PIATS, Fagernes 1992, vol. 2, Oslo, pp. 441-453.
"A Decorated Prajiiaparamita Manuscript from Poo", Qrientations
25.6: 54-60.
"Tucci Himalayan Archives Report, 2: The 1991 Expedition to
Himachel Pradesh", East and West 44.1: 13-82.
"Reformation and Renaissance: A Study of Indo-Tibetan Monasteries
in the Eleventh Century", in Orientalia: Iosephi Tucci Memoria
Dicata, ed. G. Gnoli & L. Lanciotti, Roma, Serie Orientale Roma 56.2,
IsMEO, Rome, pp. 683-702.
Tabo: A Lamp for the Kingdom: Early Indo-Tibetan Buddhist 4rt in
the Western Himalaya, New York: Thames & Hudson.
"Style in Western Tibetan Painting: The Archeological Evidence", East
and West.
"Les texts bouddhiques au temps du roi Khri-sroil-lde-bcan", Journal
Asiatique 241: 313-353.
Book Review of "Ulrich Pagel, The Bodhisattvapi!aka: Its Practices
and Doctrines in Mahayana Literature, Tring 1994", in: Buddhist
Studies Review 15.2: 228-230.
Luczanits, Christian
1996 "A Note on Tholing Monastery", Orientations 27.6: 76-77.
Pagel, Ulrich
"Minor Inscriptions and Captions in the Tabo (Ta pho) gTsug lag
khan", in Inscriptions from the Tabo Main Temple: Texts and
Translations, Serie Orientalia Roma, IsMEO, eds. L. Petech & C.
The Bodhisattvapi!aka: Its Practices and Doctrines in Mahayana
Literature, Buddhica Britannica v, The Institute of Buddhist Studies,
Pagel, Ulrich & Sean Gaffney
1996 Location List of the Texts in the Microfiche Edition of the Sel dkar
(London) Manuscript bKa' 'gyur (Or. 6724), The British Library,
Cata10gus Codicum Tibetanorum i, London.
Panglung, Jampa L.
1994 "New Fragments on the sGra-sbyor bam-po giiis-pa", East and West
44.1: 161-172.
Petech, Luciano
1977 The Kingdom of Ladakh c. 950-1842, Serie Orientale Roma 51,
Rome: IsMEO.
1988 "Ya tshe, Gu-ge, Pu-raiJ.: A New Study", in Selected Papers on Asian
History, Serie Orientale Roma 60, Rome: IsMEO, pp. 369-394.
"The Disintegration of the Tibetan Kingdom", in Tibetan Studies,
J?IATS, Fagemes 1992, Oslo, pp. 649-659.
1997 "Western Tibet: Historical Introduction", in A Lamp for the Kingdom:
Early Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Art in the Western Himalaya, D.
Klimburg-Salter, pp. 229-255.
Rossi Filibeck, Elena de
1994 "A Study of a Fragmentary Manuscript ofthe PancavilflSatika in the
Ta pho Library", East and West 44.1: 137-160.
forthcoming "A Manuscript of the Siitra of Golden Light from Western Tibet, in
Tabo Studies II: Manuscripts, Texts, Inscriptions and the Arts, ed. E.
Steinkellner & C Scherrer-Schaub, Rome: IsMEO.
Scherrer-Schaub, Cristina Anna
1989 "Sa cu: Qu'y-a-t-il au programme de la c1asse de philologie
bouddhique?", in Tibetan Studies, PlATS, Narita 1989, vol. 1,
Narita, pp. 209-220.
forthcoming a "Towards a Methodology for the Study of Old Tibetan Manuscrips:
Dunhuang and Tabo", in Tabo Studies II: Manuscripts, Texts,
Inscriptions and the Arts, ed. E. Steinkellner & C. Scherrer-Schaub,
Serie Orientale Roma, Rome: IsMEO.
forthcoming b "Reading Through Texts and Scripts: Was ByaiJ. chub sems dpa' a
Posthumous Title of King Ye ses 'od?", East and West.
Scherrer-Schaub, Cristina Anna & Georges Bonani
forthcoming "Establishing a Typology of Old Tibetan Manuscripts: A Multi-
disciplinary Approach".
Scherrer-Schaub Cristina A. & Paul Harrison
forthcoming Inventory of the Tibetan Manuscript Collection kept in the Tabo 'du
Skilling, Peter
1997 "From bKa' bstan bcos to bKa' 'gyur and bsTan 'gyur", in Transmis-
sion of the Tibetan Canon, PlATS, Graz 1995, Vienna, pp. 87-111.
Steinkellner, Ernst
1994 "A Report on the 'Kanjur' ofTa pho", East and West 44.1: 115-136.
forthcoming a "Notes on the Function of two lith-century Inscriptional Siitra Texts
in Tabo: Ga':lr;lavyuhasutra and East and West.
forthcoming b "Manuscript Fragments, Texts and Inscriptions in the Temple ofTabo:
An Interim Report with Bibliography", East and West.
nABs 22.1 210
Steinkellner, Ernst & Christian Luczanits
1997 "A New Translation of the Renovation Inscription in the Tabo Main
Temple (gtsug lag khang)", in A Lamp for the Kingdom: Early Indo-
Tibetan Buddhist Art in the Western Himalaya, D. Klimburg-SaJter,
pp. 257-259.
forthcoming "The Renovation Inscription of the Tabo gTsug lag kha1i.: New Edition
and Translation", in Inscriptions from the Tabo Main Temple: Texts
and Translations, eds. L. Petech & C. Luczanits, Serie Orientalia
Roma, Rome: IsMEO.
Tauscher, Helmut
1994 "Tanjur Fragments from the Manuscript Collection at Ta pho
Monastery: with its Commentaries Vrtti and
'['fka", East and West 44.1: 173-184.
forthcoming "The Admonitory Inscription in the Tabo 'Du khan", in Inscriptions
from the Tabo Main Temple: Texts and Translations, eds. L. Petech
& C. Luczanits, Serie Orientale Roma, Rome: IsMEO.
Tomabechi, Torn
forthcoming "Remarks on Selected Tantric Fragments from Tabo", East and West.
Tucci, Guiseppe, & Eugenio Ghersi
1934 Cronaca della missione scientifica Tucci nel Tibet occidentale (/933),
1935 Indo-Tibetica, III: I templi del Tibet occidentale e illoro simbolismo
artistico, Parte I, Spiti e Kunavar, Roma: Reale Accadernia d'Italia.
Indo-Tibetica, III: I templi del Tibet occidentale e illoro simbolismo
artistico, Parte II, Tsaparang, Roma: Reale Accadernia d'Italia 1936.
1937 Santi e briganti nel Tibet ignoto (diario della spedizione nel Tibet
occidentale 1935), Milan 1937.
1949 Tibetan Painted Scrolls, 3 vols., Rome 1949.
Vitali, Roberto
1990 Early Temples of Central Tibet, London 1990.
1996 The Kingdoms of Pu.hrang: According to mNga'.ris rgyal.
rabs by mkhan.chen Ngag.dbang, Dharamsala: Tho.
ling.gtsug.lag.khang lo.gcig.stong ''i rjes.dran.mdzad sgo'i
go.sgrig tshogs.chung 1996.
Introduction to Alexander von Stael-Holstein's Article
"On a Peking Edition of the Tibetan Kanjur Which
Seems to be Unknown in the West"
Edited for publication by
Baron Alexander Wilhelm von Stael-Holstein is probably unlikely to be
mentioned immediately in a contemporary conversation about great Buddh-
ist scholars. Yet he was, without a doubt, a splendid researcher. Through
a life filled with turmoil, he accomplished a very great deal, mostly in the
field of Buddhist Studies, and again, largely in the realm of philological
work. Among other studies, he edited texts (including the famous Kasyapa-
parivarta), reconstructed lost Sanskrit materials from Chinese and Tibetan,
and investigated Sino-Tibetan Buddhist art.
He was also one of the fIrst
to devote serious attention to the problems raised by the textual history of
Tibetan canonical collections. The article presented here has been known
to a small circle of scholars for some years, but the number of copies in
circulation was very small. In fact, I know of only two originals, one held
in the Harvard-Yenching Library, the other in the "Sylvain Levi collection"
(the second according to the kind information of Prof. D. S. Ruegg). The
article was printed, but never published, as "On a Peking edition of the
Tibetan Kanjur which seems to be unknown in the West." It was apparently
to appear in the Harvard Sino-Indian Series, vol. 3. On the back cover of
what we might term the "pre-print" is found "Peking - Lazarist Press,"
and on the front "Peking 1934." As I have observed before/ the copy in
1. For appreciations and bibliographies, see Serge ELISSEEFF: "Stael-Holstein's
Contribution to Asiatic Studies," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 3 (1938):
1-8, and Ernst SCHIERLITZ: "In Memory of Alexander Wilhelm Baron von
Stael-Holstein," Monumenta Serica 3 (1938): 286-91.
2. In The Heart Sutra in Tibetan: A Critical Edition of the Two Recensions Contained
in the Kanjur. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 34 (Vienna:
Arbeitskreis flir Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universitat Wien 1994):
24, note 2. I neglected to mention at that time that the same memo had been
noted and transcribed by Helmut EIMER: "Two versions of a Volume Within
the Lhasa Kanjur," in Helga Uebach and Jampa L. Panglung, eds., Tibetan
Studies: Proceedings of the 4th Seminar of the International Association for
Tibetan Studies. Studia Tibetica 2 (Miinchen: Kommission flir Zentralasiatische
Studien, Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften 1988): 149, note 2.
Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
Volume 22. Number 1 1999
JIABS 22.1 212
Harvard is inscribed on the title page by Stael-Holstein himself to Dean
G. H. Chase. The note says: "If the editors [? almost illegible] approve of
my suggest[ion] these pages will be published as the fi[rst] twenty pages
of vol IV of the Harvard Sino-In[dian Series]. Compare my letter [of]
February 27
1 [date obscured]." Given this, it cannot be considered abso-
lutely certain whether publication was intended iIi volume III or IV of the
Harvard Sino-Indian Series, although volume III is the more likely.3 In
any case, that the article has lost little of its value in the sixty-five (!)
years since it was written is a testimony to the excellence of Stael-Holstein's
scholarship, and also perhaps to the failure of later scholars to follow ,his
lead into certain areas of comparative Sino-Tibetan studies. It is certainly
high time that this excellent example of his fruitful research be presented
to an audience wider than those few scholars-who were able to obtain
photocopies of the rare extant prints of the original publication. I am
therefore grateful to the editors of the Journal of the International Associ-
ation of Buddhist Studies, and to the authorities of the Harvard-Y enching
Library, who have generously given their permission for this publication.
In preparing the following article for publication, I have done little, and
have changed the basic text not at all; I have added a few additional
references, and clarified some of Stael-Holstein's own abbreviated refer-
ences. While these may have been clear to an audience of peers sixty
years ago, today many are likely to be obscure to most readers. Other
than this, I have made only the following cosmetic changes: I have italicized
quoted Tibetan and Sanskrit; in the original, everything was printed in
Roman type, with the exception of several italicizations for emphasis. I
have indented the long quotation from the colophon, which was not
indented in the original. And I have modified the transliteration schemes
3. On page 20 of his "On two recent reconstructions of a Sanskrit hymn transliterated
with Chinese characters in the X century A. D.," Yenching Journal of Chinese
Studies [Yen-ching hsueh-pao 17 (1935): 1-38, Stael-Holstein writes
of his "article, which has already been printed and which will fonn part of the
forthcoming third volume of the Harvard Sino-Indian Series, .... " As far as I
know, the only volumes of the Harvard Sino-Indian Series to have actually
appeared are the following: Friedrich WELLER, Index to the Tibetan Translation
of the KafYapaparivarta. Harvard Sino-Indian Series I (Cambridge: Harvard-
Yenching Institute 1933), and the same scholar's Index to the Indian Text of the
Kafyapaparivarta. Harvard Sino-Indian Series II, Part 1 (Cambridge: Harvard-
Yenching Institute 1935; Reprinted in Friedrich Weller: Kleine Schriften.
Wilhelm Rau, ed. Two Volumes. Glasenapp-Stiftung Band 26 [Stuttgart / Wies-
baden: Franz Steiner 1987]: 1.543-605).
SILK 213
of both sariskrit and Tibetan, bringing the latter into line with the so-called
Wylie system; Stael-Holstein's original used older systems, which I
supposed might be unfamiliar to contemporary readers. The original page
numbers are inserted in bold carets, thus 1, in order to facilitate reference
to the original, which is sometimes cited. All adjustments, modifications
and corrections I offer are added only in notes.
The footnotes are entirely mine, and are marked with lower case roman
letters, while the end-notes are those of Stael-Holstein's original article,
marked by arabic numerals, followed by a right parenthesis. In my footnotes,
in addition to providing complete references, in a few instances I have
sought to clarify issues left unclear by Stael-Holstein. In only a very few
cases I have corrected what I believe to be errors made by Stael-Holstein.
Stael-Holstein's original article was accompanied by eight pages of
plates containing sixteen folio leaves in Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian.
I regret that, in the end, it has not been possible to reproduce all of these
plates of the original article. The quality of the plates in the xerox copy I
have is not high, and despite the fine help of Ms. Ruohong Li at Harvard,
I have not been able to locate the originals of plates V, VI, VIIb and
VlIIb, which include leaves from the 1700 Kanjur stated by Stael-Holstein
to belong to the National Library of Peking4. I trust this will not prove a
hardship to very many readers. In this regard, I must also mention the
excellent and generous assistance given me by my wife, Yoko, in preparing
the new plates on the computer, for which I am most grateful. Some
corrections and suggestions were kindly offered by Dr. Helmut Eimer,
and Gene Smith, for which I am very appreciative. I am of course
responsible for the remaining errors of mine (although not for any of
those of Stael-Holstein which, despite my best efforts, may rest
4. Stael-Holstein's original captions for the plates I have been unable to reproduce
read as follows:
Plate V: The original (above) and the amended (below) version of the first
page of a Tibetan Dkar chag (table of contents).
Plate VI: Pages lA and 8A of a Chinese Dkar chag (table of of the
A. D. 1700 edition of the Tibetan Kanjur.
Plate VII: A page of the Tibetan translation of the SaddharmapUI:ujarfkasatra
as it appears ... in the A. D. 1700 edition (below). Note the emendations on
lines 1 and 5 of the A. D. 1700 page.
Plate VIII: Page 50b of volume '1 as it appears ... in the A. D. 1700 edition
'JIABS 22.1 214
It should be noted here that the edition discussed b'y Stael-Holstein is
now to be found in the Rare Book room of the Harvard-Yenching Library,
where it is catalogued as Tib 1803.7 / 14. It has an accession stamp of
June 28, 1939, and was acquired from the Sino-Indian Institute in Peking.
The text is printed in red on folios approximately 69 x 24 cm, with a
printed area of about 60 x 14 cm. Volumes 29, 45, 53, 59 and 61 are
missing from the set.
It is remarkable that the very volume 61, or hi in
the Tibetan system (a part of the Phal po che), which belongs to this set
is currently to be found in the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in Kalamazoo,
Michigan. How this volume got separated from the volumes acquire9- by
Stael-Holstein is not known exactly, but it was purchased for $50 by Mr.
Albert M. Todd already in 1926 from Edward Barrett, a New York fur
dealer who apparently had something of a sideline in peddling Chinese
"curiosities." Barrett stated in his description which accompanied the
volume: "This book was procured by Edward Barrett from the Imperial
Library in Peking, China, 1924." One certainly gains the impression that
the "procurement" was not an entirely kosher transaction, but given the
turmoil in China in those days, it is unlikely we will ever learn what
actually happened. (It is interesting, however, that Barrett knew when [he
dated it to 1693], where and by whom the volume had been printed.) The
volume was presented to the Kalamazoo Public Library in November
1932 by the heirs of Mr. Todd, under the terms of his will, and microfilmed
already in 1942 by Horace Poleman of the Library of Congress. But it
apparently remained otherwise unknown until it was identified in 1986
by my friend Bruce Cameron Hall. Dr. Hall, who had worked to catalogue
the Harvard collection, is remarkably enough perhaps the one person in
the world who could have recognized on sight this volume as coming
from the same set as the Harvard-Yenching Kanjur. While a post-doctoral
fellow at the University of Michigan, he investigated local Tibetan holdings
and discovered the Kalamazoo volume. It is a further coincidence that I
held, during the period when I was preparing the present article, a post at
Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, which enabled me to easily
examine this volume.
Jonathan A. Silk
5. lowe this information to the unpublished paper of Bruce Cameron HALL,
"Tibetan Tripitakas and Harvard-Yenching Library," 1987.
On a Peking Edition of the Tibetan Kanjur
which Seems to be Unknown in the West
by Baron A von Stael-Holstein
In the writings of modern scholars only two printed Peking editions of
the Tibetan Kanjur have, as far as I know, been described. One of them
was published in A. D. 1410, and the other one in A. D. 17001). The
Prussian State Library possesses thirty six volumes belonging to the A.
D. 1410 edition
), but no complete copy of it is definitely known to have
survived anywhere. a
a. This statement is now known to be inaccurate on both counts. The volumes
which were in the Prussian State Library (they were destroyed during the Second
World War) seem [or seemed to me previously] to have belonged to the 1606
Wan-li print, not the 1410 Yung-lo, and at least two complete copies of the
Yung-lo do in fact survive. See my "Notes on the History of the Yongle Kanjur,"
in M. Hahn, R. Steiner, and I.-U. Hartmann, eds., Suhrllekhiil;: Festgabe fur
Helmut Eimer. Indica et Tibetica 28 (Swisttal-Odendorf, Germany: Indica et
Tibetica Verlag 1996): 153-200. See now also OeHI Iunji "Sera-ji,
Eirakuban to Depun-ji, Ritanban ni tsuite" t '7 '# . 7'"7" /-''#. !J
-C [The Sera Yung-lo and the Drepung Lithang], Nihon Chibetto
Gakkai Kaiho 41-42 (1997): 23-32. In addition, I regret
that in preparing my 1996 paper I overlooked another publication on the Yung-Io
the contents of which, however, do not appear to add to what I have published.
See UEDA Chitoshi l:E8-=ff, "Chibetto Daizokyo Shohan no Keifu (1): Eiraku-
ban Kangyuru ni kanshite" (1): /-'=.::z. JvV.:
00 L--C [Lineages of Various Printings of the Tibetan Canon 1: The Yung-lo
Kanjur], Bukkyo Daigaku Daigakuin Kiyo 22 (1994):
1-17. (I should note that now, in letters of 24 Sept. and 12 Oct., 1998, Dr
Helmut Eimer informs me that at least one of the volumes in the Prussian State
Library did not, in fact, come from the Wan-li, since it is printed in red. He will
publish some research results of his study of this material in the near future.)
I take this opportunity to list a few corrections to my 1996 article, some of
them courtesy of my friend Karashima Seishi 163, n. 33, and 175, 1.
8 from the bottom Jf!: -7 J:i; 175, last line, and 176 ftrst line: -71llli:; 186,1. 4
from bottom:51 -7 175, 1. 3, punctuate ... 1I::MWUio ... ; line 6,
punctuate li&o JIt ... ; 186, 1. 7, punctuate ... .... Several other
corrections can be made on the basis of a photocopy of the ftrst two pages of
the original Chinese text of the Yu-chih tsang-ching ch'ih-yu
kindly sent me by Prof. Ochi; 186,1. 3: delete [9; 1. 7: -=f -7 r; 1. 16: -7 .
These two pages end at line 18; there must be a third page, the original of which
I have not seen. Also correct: 158, n. 16: the listing of the leaves with the
Yung-lo is Ochi's error, clarified in his 1997 paper, p. 24; 192,1. 1: Hakuyu >
Hakuyii; Hadano 1974b seems not to exist, or at least the reference is wrong.
nABS 22.1 216
The Yung Ho Kung lamasery of Peking has all the 106 volumes
forming the A. D. 1700 edition, a catalogue of which by Mr. B. Sakurabe,
has lately (1930-1932) been published by the Otani Daigaku Liprary (*

The document reproduced on plate II below proves that another edition
of the Tibetan Kanjur was completed in Peking in A. D. 1692. I suggest
the following translation of the Tibetan texe) of the document.
Thanks to Prof. Akamatsu Akihiko I have now seen a copy of
Manasarowara (so read) 1, the only number ever published, which however
does not contain any article on the Yung-lo Kanjur. Most of privately
distributed journal, published by the Chibetto Butten Kenkyukai :f-.r( 'Y r {rJIlJ;!!l,
(Tibetan Buddhist Text Society) of Sendai, is devoted to studies of the
Lmiktivattira-sutra. (With respect to p. 163, n. 33, Karashima also infonned me
of the Chinese tenn 8,f, which means "to engrave.")
b. SAKURABE Bunkyo Comparative Analytical Catalogue of the
Kanjur Division of the Tibetan Tripitaka I Otani Daigaku Toshokan ZiJ: Chibetto
DaiziJkyiJ Kanjuru KandiJ Mokuroku, .
mmli'U 3 volumes (Kyoto: Otani Daigaku Toshokan
1930-32). This actually catalogues the 1717/20 print, and not the 1700 print.
c. The postface, which was apparently attached to every volume of the set, reads
as follows:
110m swa sti pra dza bhyif!
sngon spyad bsod nams las 'khrungs chu gter las I
I rmad byung thugs rje 'i brlabs 'phreng cher g-yos te I
Inam yang zad med smon lam si tti'i * klung I
I snyigs dus skye 'gro'i bsod nams zhing mchog tul
I babs pa'i bskal bzang gser gyi snye ma'i 'bras I
I legs par smin pa'i mdo sde'i bka 'gyur 'di I
I dpaldan * 'phagspa'i lha khang 'khrungs kau si'i/
I dge slong sbyin pa rgya mtsho gtso mdzad ba 'i I
I dpon slob tshogs kyi lhag bsam dag pa'i mthus I
I gnas bskos gser mngal khang hi gser gyi * khrir I
I ri rab lhun po 'i Ita bu brtan gyur cig [/I
I dge 'dis bdag sogs rgyu sbyor sbyin bdag dang I
I pha rna gtso byas 'gro drug sems can mams I
I gnas ngan len gyi 'ching ba * las grol te I
I sangs rgyas zhing du myur du skye bar shog I
thub bstan spyi dang 'jam mgon tsong kha pa 'i I
I chos srid zung la dbang bsgyur mes po yi I
I sku tshe mnga' thang srid mthar * rgyas pa dang I
I bkra shing bde legs dpalla spyod par shog I
dza yantu I ta'i ching khar [read: khang] hi 10 sum cu so gcig chu pho sprello
snrul gyi zla ba'i chu pho khyi rgyal gyi nyi ma la dbu gtsugs * nas man gru zla
ba'i sa pho stag dga' ba nyi ma'i bar du legs par bsgrubs pa' 0 I
This [is the] Kanjur [composed] of siitras - rice-grains of an auspicious golden
ear, which have developed because an uninterrupted Sita river of prayers flowing
in a great row of wonderful mercy-waves from a lake arisen out of merit
[acquired in] former [existences] has irrigated (literally: flown into) the most
excellent of the Kaliyuga.
May the purity of the intentions [adhyiisayasuddhi] of the community of
masters and pupils headed by Sbyin pa rgya mtsho [Danasagara?] a Dge slong
attached] to the illustrious 'Phags pa [Lama's] temple, the Ch'ung Kuo
1, serve to keep the gold-bom
) Emperor K'ang Rsi, Sumeru-like in firmness
[sitting] on his golden throne.
May the good [deed which I have done in editing the Kanjur] liberate me as
well as the other benefactors connected with this matter (i.e. the Kanjur edition),
and all the living beings of the six classes, first of all [my] parents, from the
fetters of sin
), and may [we all, owing to the good deed] soon be born in
Buddha fields.
May the powerful realm of the venerable patriarchS), who governs Buddhism
(thub bstan) in general and the church of Maiijunatha Tsong kha pa [in particular],
be extended to the limits [of the world] and may it enjoy happiness and well-being.
[The edition of the Kanjur] was begun on the chu pha khyi rgyal (male water
2 dog victory) day of the snrul month of the chu pha sprel (male water ape)
year [which coincides with] the 31st year of the K'ang Rsi period [A. D. 1692]
of the Ta Ch'ing dynasty, and [the edition of the Kanjur] was well finished on
the sa pha stag dga' ba (male earth tiger joy) day of the man grll) month [of
the same year?].
Several copies of this document were found in different volumes of my
own almost complete copy of the Tibetan Kanjur, and I have no doubt
that the volumes which I possess were printed in A. D. 1692. The Sung
Chu Ssu lamasery of Peking possesses a set of the A. D. 1692
Kanjur, which seems
) to be quite complete, and we are therefore able to
compare the two editions (A. D. 1692 and A. D. 1700).
The volumes of the A. D. 1692 edition are numbered as follows: KA-A
(30 volumes), (1 volume), KI-I (30 volumes), KU-U (30 volumes),
and KE-PRE (14 volumes), altogether 105 volumes.
) In the A. D. 1700
edition too we find volumes marked KA-A, KI-I, KU-U, and KE-
PRE, but the A. D. 1700 editors considered the inclusion of the Ral pa
gyen brdzes kyi rgyud/
) which fills an entire volume in the Kanjur,
necessary, and added one volume to the 105 volumes of the A. D. 1692
edition. As a result of this addition the A. D. 1700 Kanjur has 106
) For some reason the A. D. 1700 editors thought that the
proper place for the newly added volume was between the volumes ZHA
and 'A. Therefore they marked the volume containing the Ral pa gyen
brdzes kyi rgyud with the character ZA.
) The work (Bu ston's collection
of dharaI).ls), which occupied the volume ZA in the A. D. 1692 ed. is
nABS 22.1 218
marked OM in the A. D. 17QO ed. and regarded as the superior first
-) volume of the Rgyud division of the Kanjur.
) On plate III below
page 55a ofBu ston's collection as it appears in the A. D. 1692 and in the
A. D. 1700 Kanjurs is reproduced. The A. D. 1692 edition of the page is
marked Rgyud Z4. nga lnga gong and -= +, while
the A. D. 1700 edition of the page bears the following marks: Rgyud O
nga lnga gong and +3i.
As far as I can see, the same blocks were used for printing the two
editions of the volume, and I believe that the markings at the sides of the
pages were changed by a process, which the old style printers of Peking
still apply when correcting their blocks. The faulty parts of the blocks are
removed and new pieces of wood
) for the emendations are fitted into
the resulting cavities. In the same way thousands of corrections seem to
have been effected in other volumes of the A. D. 1700 ed.
) On line 8 of
page 12b of volume CHU, for instance, the A. D. 1700 ed. has nyi ma zla
ba sgron ma instead of the syllables nyi ma ma mtsho na ma (?), which
we find in the A. D. 1692 edition. The Skt. text of the Saddharmapu,:u;!a-
rfkasiitra (ed. by Kern and Nanjio, Bib!. Buddhica X, page 25, line l)d
has candriirkadfpao in the corresponding verse and supports the A. D.
1700 emendation.
) The following readings of the A. D. 1700 edition
likewise agree with the Skt. version of the siitra published in the Bibliotheca
Buddhica?O) CHU 120a 7: rgyalpo'i zhabs ring (Skt., 3 page 279, line
1: A. D. 1692: rgyal po'i zham rim).e CHU 145a 3: spos
mar gyi mar me dag gis (Skt., page 337, line 7: gandhatailapradfpair, A.
D. 1692: spos mar gyi me dag gis). CHU 145a 8: mtshan nyid du rig par
bya'o (Skt., page 338, 1: veditavyam, A. D. 1692: mtsham nyid
d. Hendrik KERN and Bunyiu NANJIO, SaddharmapU1:uJarfka. Bibliotheca Buddllica
10 CSt. Petersbourg: bnperial Academy 1908-12. Reprint: Osnabriick, Biblio
Verlag 1970).
e. According to the Tibetan texts edited by NAKAMURA Zuiryii $HIffiiIlfli: et al.,
("Chibetto-yaku Hokekyo" 'f-"" y r- Hokke Bunka Kenkyu
2 [1976] and following. Page numbers equal those of the Sanskrit
edition of KERN & NANJIO 1908-12), Cone, Derge, Lhasa and Narthang [denoted
by NAKAMURA C, D, L, N] readzhabs 'bring. (It may be worthwhile mentioning
that while NAKAMURA's edition of "the" Tibetan of the Lotus Siitra - which
takes as its base the highly problematic Peking edition, and records variants
from only Cone, Derge, Narthang and Lhasa - is convenient, from a text-critical
point of view it is of extremely limited utility. It is a real shame that, even for
such an important siitra, we still have no reliable account of the Tibetan tradition's
transmission of the text.).
du rig par bya'o). CHU 150a 6-7: rigs kyi bu 'am rigs kyi bu mo la las ...
smras (Skt., page 350, lines 1-2: kascid eva kulaputro vii kuladuhitii vii
... vaded, A. D. 1692: bu mo las instead of bu mo la las). CHU 154a 5:
rnam par'i khang bzang na (Skt., page 361, line 4: Vaijayante
priisiide, A. D. 1692: gang instead of khang). CHU 157a'1: de bzhin
gshegs pas ji skad gsungs pa bzhin du yang dag pa ji Ita ba bzhin (Skt.,
page 367, line 17: yathiibhutarh yathoktam tathiigatena, A. D. 1692: om.
the syllables yang dag pa ji Ita ba bzhin, see pI. VII).f CHU 173a 4:
yang dag par rdzogs pa'i sangs rgyas nyi zla dri ma med pa 'i 'od dpaZ
gyi (Skt., page 408, line 11: Candrasuryavimalaprabhiisasriyas ... samyak-
sarhbuddhasya, A. D. 1692: om. the syllables sangs rgyas).
A number of emendations, which we find on pages 100b-138a of vol.
'I of the A. D. 1700 Kanjur (Tibetan translation of the Kiisyapaparivarta),
are equally supported
) by the corresponding Skt. text (comp. my edition
of it which appeared at Shanghai in 1926).g 'I 103b 5: med (Skt., page
18, line 4: A. D. 1692: byed). 'I 122a 5:sdug par (Skt.,
page 137, line 16: subhao, A. D. 1692: sdug bsngal). 'I 125a 4: dge
sbyong (Skt., page 154, line 7: sramaIJao, A. D. 1692: dge slong). '1 132a
7: mos pa mi mang ba dag gis (Skt. page 201, line 25: anadhimuktibahule,
A. D. 1692: mos pa mi mnga' ba dag gis). 'I 133b 5: snyoms par 'jug pa
(Skt., page 209, line 21: samiipattiO, A. D. 1692: sems par 'jug pa).h
The A. D. 1700 editors have not confined their efforts to correcting
mistakes like these in their version of volume 'I, but have added an entire
sutra, the (A. D. 1700 ed., vol 'I, pages
50b-73b) not found in the A. D. 1692 edition to it.
) Another work,
which is missing in the A. D. 1692 edition is the VidyutpriiptaparipTcchii
(A. D. 1700 ed., vol. ZHI, pages 333b-350a). Both sutras belong to the
Mahiiratnaku!adharmaparyiiya, a collection containing 49 (in the A. D.
1692 ed.: 47) works.
The inclusion of the VidyutpriiptaparipTcchii and
:E According to NAKAMURA, CDLN read de bzhin gshegs pas ji skad gsungs pa
bzhin yang dag pa ji Ita ba bzhin duo
g. The Ka9yapaparivarta: A Mahiiyanasutra a/the Ratnakuta Class: Edited in the
Original Sanskrit in Tibetan and in Chinese (Shanghai: Commercial Press 1926).
h. These are all confirmed by the sTog Palace Kanjur, dkan brtsegs, cha: 8, sTog
207a2; 94, sTog 229b5; 105, sTog 233a3; 139, sTog 241b2; 144, sTog
i. See note 98 of my "Notes on the History of the Yongle Kanjur." Both texts are
also missing from the copy of the Yung-Io Kanjur of which Tada Tokan
U listed the contents in Sera monastery in 1924 (for which see note 17 of the
article just mentioned). However, a number of other texts are also missing
JiABS 22.1 220
of the which are absent from the A. D.
1692 ed., in the A. D. 1700 ed. necessitated the addition of 17 !eaves to
volume ZHI (A. D. 1692: 333 leaves, A. D. 1700: 350 leaves) and of 23
leaves to volume 'I (A. D. 1692: 288 leaves, A. D. 1700: 311leaves)?3)
On plate VIII below page SOb of volume '1 is reproduced as it appears in
the two editions. In the A. D. 1692 edition we find the end of the Sarva-

and the beginning of the Darikavimalasraddhaparip!ccha on
page '1 SOb. In the A. D. 1700 edition, however, the beginning of the
takes the place, which the beginning of the
Darikavimalasraddhiiparip!cchii occupied in the A. D. 1692 edition.
The Berlin manuscript and the A. D. 1692 xylograph are the only
Kanjurs known to me which omit the Vidyutpraptaparip!cchii as well as
the The A. D. 1692 edition has many other
features in common with the volumes described by Beckh/
) k and the
similarity of the two collections may some day help to solve the mystery,
which still surrounds the Berlin manuscript Kanjur.
) 5
Notes to the article On a Peking Edition of the Tibetan
Kanjur which Seems to be Unknown in the West
Note 1.
Prince 1&:3::: (Fu Ch'iian) occupies the first place among the members of
a committee whom the Emperor had ordered to prepare a complemented
(1m) edition of the Tibetan Kanjur.
Compo the document dated K'ang
Hsi 39 [=A.D. 1700] which is reprinted on pages 10-11 of the Otani caL
(dkon brtsegs 7, 11, 20, 33, 39,42), and since Tada did not list folio numbers, it
is impossible to be certain what was lost and what was not included at all. I am
very grateful to Prof. Kitamura Hajime ;;ftf<fm, Director of the T6y6 Bunko,
for kindly sending me a photocopy of Tada' s handwritten list.
j. hasyaupaya
should be written hasya-upaya
; it does not indicate the dipthong.
k. Hermann BECKH, Verzeichnis der Tibetischen Handschriften der Koniglichen
Bibliothek zu Berlin: Erste Abteilung: Kanjur (bka1;t-l?-gyur), Die Handschriften-
Verzeichnisse der Kiiniglichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, Vierundzwanzigster Band
(Berlin: Behrend & Co. 1914).
l. On Fu Ch'iian, see Arthur William HUMMEL, Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing
Period, 1644-1912 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office
1943): 251-52, which, however, mentions only his military and political career.
introd. It should be noted that the scholar who was at the head of the
A.D. 1692 Kanjur committee, the Dge slong Sbyin pa rgya
mtsho [Danasagara?], is not mentioned in the document among the numer-
ous collaborators of the Prince. This omission probably means that Sbyin
pa rgya mtsho's work as chief editor was not approved by the court.
Prince Fu Ch'iian would hardly have ignored his predecessor'seditorial
activities, if the latter had simply disappeared without incurring Imperial
I possess a xylograph of the Mongolian version of the document published
in Chinese on pages 10-11 of the Otani cat. introd. The Mongolian version
says: The editor in chief of the Kanjur, Prince Fu Ch'iian and (here
follow the names of over thirty collaborators) have according to the
[Imperial] command "complement [the Kanjur] and engrave [the blocks
for printing the Kanjur]" completed the engraving [of the blocks for the
Kanjur] on a lucky day of the first summer month of the 39
year of
K'ang Hsi (Jarliyiyar nukuJu seyil kemeksen ganJur nom i kuliyen uJeJu
uyiledgegulugsen Jasay un elbeg Cin wang tusimel fuCiuwan '" engke
amuyulang un yuCin yisuduger on u Jun u terigun sara yin say in edur
seyileJu tegusgebe). I am entirely ignorant of the Mongolian language,
and lowe this information as well as practically everything else I know
about Mongolian documents to the kindness of Mr. B. I. Pankratoff.ffi
In the Tibetan version of the A.D. 1700 (K'ang Hsi 39) document
(xylograph belonging to the National Library of Peking) par bzhengs
twice corresponds to the Mongolian seyil which can only mean "to engrave
[the texts on the blocks for printing]" in this connection. The expression
dpar bzhengs, which we find in the document quoted in note 11 below,
must have the same meaning as par bzhengs. I have not found the expression
par bzhengs (or dpar bzhengs) in my dictionaries, and I am not quite sure
as to what it really means: "to print" or "to engrave." According to
Jaeschke (diet., page 484) bzheng (pf. and imp. bzhengs) alone, without
par, means i.a.: "to print." n
m. AB I am also entirely ignorant of the Mongolian language, I leave Stael-Holstein's
transcription exactly as it is.
n. Heinrich August JASCHKE, A Tibetan-English Dictionary (London: Routledge
& Kegan Paul 1881). The complications raised by compounds with the term
bzhengs have been discussed by HADANO Hakuyu ;j)J 133 "Chibetto daizo-
kyo engi: 'Sono ichi' - Nartan daigakumonji no senkuteki jigyo 0 megutte",T
"'::y C.:t-O)-)
-C, [A history of the compiling and editing of the Tibetan Buddhist Scriptures,
"Bkal;t-Q.gyur and Bstan-Q.gyur": part 1: the pioneering work of N arthang monas-
JIABS 22.1 222
In transliterating the Tibetan characters I use the system adopted in the
Bibliotheca Buddhica, vol. XV, page xC 6
Note 2.
Compo Griinwedel's Mythologie, page 74.P Two block-printed documents
in my possession, which were evidently printed with Ming dynasty blocks,
refer to the Tibetan Kanjur. One of them is a postface composed by the
Emperor Yung Le in Tibetan and in Chinese, and the other one is an ode
in which the same Emperor sings the Kanjur's praises in the two languages.
Both documents are dated. The postface bears only one date: the 9
of the 3
month of the 8
year (A.D. 1410) of Yung Le, but on the last
page of the Chinese version of the ode we find two dates: the Yung Le
date just mentioned and a note, from which we learn that the Kanjur (or
perhaps the Imperial ode only) had been re-engraved (]IHU) during the
reign of the Emperor Wan Li, who died in A.D. 1620.
The Tibetan
version of the ode omits the Wan Li note. Compo plate I below.
On page 41 of his (Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1933)
Mr. Lli (8) takes it for granted that a Wan Li edition of the
Kanjur did (or does) exist, without, however, indicating the source of his
I am indebted to Mr. Yli (rJ!l*) for having drawn my
attention to Mr. Lli's book.
tery], Suzuki Gakujutsu Zaidan Kenkyu Nenpi5 3 (1966):
43-44. HADANO also draws our attention to Walter SIMON: "Tibetan par, dpar,
spar, and cognate words," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
25 (1962): 72-80.
o. As stateg in the Introduction, I have modified this system.
p. AlbertGRUNwEDEL, Mythologie des Buddhismus in Tibet und der Mongolei
(Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus 1900). '
q. For a detailed discussion of the Yung-Io edition, refer to my "Notes on the
History of the Yongle Kanjur." Note that Stael-Holstein has misunderstood the
term :mflJ. It here means reprint, not re-engraving. See, however; the same
expression in my paper, note 38, where the meaning is as Stael-Holstein here
understood it.
r. Lli Ch'eng Hsi-tsangfo-hsiieh yiian-lun (Shanghai: Shang-
wu yin-shu-kuan 1933). See now also the edition published in
Taipei by Lao-ku ch'u-pan-she 1978: 54.
s, Yli Tao-ch'lian was a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism who published such works
as the Love Songs of the Sixth Dalai Lama (Peking: Academia Sinica 1930).
See Bibliographie Bouddhique IV-V (Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve 1934): 125
Note 3.
The Tibetan text is preceded by the Sanskrit syllables om svasti pradzabhyiJ:!
(read: pradziibhyaJ:!), om hail to [all] creatures. On the sixth line we find
another Sanskrit expression: dza yantu, may they be victorious. The eighth
line of our document is in Chinese.! It states that Sbyin pa rgya mtsho, a
Dge slong [attached] to the Peking (:g:m, the capital) Ch'ung Kuo Ssu,
having resolved [to become a Buddha] printed, or engraved the blocks
for printing [the Kanjur] on the first day of the second summer
[month] of the 31st year of the K'ang Hsi [period] of the Ta Ch'ing
[dynasty]. The expression which is the usual rendering of Skt.
bodhicittotpiida etc. is very frequently shortened to RJ[., in Chinese
Buddhist books. Compo page 37 of my edition of the commentary to the
KiiSyapaparivarta,U where RJ[., corresponds to byang chub kyi sems
(b)skyed de [bodhicittam utpiidayati]. could of course also
mean: he formed the resolve to print, or to engrave blocks for printing.
I do not adopt this translation of the four characters here because we are
dealing with a postface containing a typically Buddhistic parilJiimana, or
dedication of religious merit. The fact that the Emperor is mentioned in
the first dedicating stanza of our document suggests that the A.D. 1692
ed., like the A.D. 1700 ed., was issued under Imperial auspices. I learn
from Professor Y. K. Tschen that the expression RJ[., frequently occurs
in Buddhistic colophons. Compo pages 449b and 514a of the
edited in 1931 by the Academia Sinica.
t. The Chinese reads B

u. A Commentary to the KQ(:yapaparivarta: Edited in Tibetan and Chinese (Peking:
The National Library of Peking and the National Tsinghua University 1933).
v. Ch'en Yiian Il*@, Tun-huang chieh-yii lu [An analytical list of the
Tun-huang manuscripts in the National Library of Pei-ping]. Kuo-li Chung-yang
yen-chiu-yiian li-shih yii-yen yen-chiu-so chuan-k' an fL r:p
4 (Pei-p'ing: Kuo-li Chung-yang yen-chiu-yiian li-shih yii-yen
yen-chiu-so 1931). This was recently reprint-
ed in volumes 3 and 4 of Huang Yung-wu .7kJit ed., Tun-huang tS'ung-k'an
ch'u-chi (Taipei: Hsin-wen-feng ch'u-pan-she
1985). The manuscripts referred to by Stael-Holstein are Ii 74, the
and * 45, the
JIABS 22.1 224
Note 4.
Compo note No 14 on page 11 of my article "On a Tibetan text translated
into Sanskrit under Ch'ien Lung (XVIII cent.) and into Chinese under
Tao Kuang (XIX cent.)," Bulletin of the National Library of Peiping,
July-August 1932.w
The word (bsod nams zhing) may evidently be used in the
sense of "a holy field" (which is irrigated by the waters of a river) as well
as in the sense of "a saint" (who is moved by the prayers of the pious).
Rice ('bras) fields have to be more copiously irrigated, than most other
fields. The sutra-rice grains may therefore be regarded as having developed
because (I read babs pas instead of babs pa 'i) the prayer-river has flown
into the
The poet evidently suggests that the Kanjur is comparable to an ear
containing many grains (which in the case of the Kanjur are represented
by sutras, the contents of the Kanjur).
According to S. C. Das (dict., page 1268) Sita (read: SiUi) is "the
Sanskrit name of the great river of Tibet." x According to Bohtlingk
(diet., vol. VI, page 130) Sita is a "Beiname" of the Ganges.
In any
case the name designates a mighty stream.
According to the MahiiparinirviilJasatra, the eight great rivers (/\*
Yij, chu klung chen po brgyatf) are: (1) t![Yij, in the Tib. text: gang gii. (2)
yam pa lao (3) sal (or sa la?). (4) ala la bar
tao (5) mahii. (6) $mi, sin duo (7) t:f5t, bag (or pag) sha. (8)
si tao Compo TaishO Trip. XII 381 b, and D. 1692 Kanjur, vol. JU,
page 45b: This Tibetan translation of the MahiiparinirviilJasiitra is
w. The paper may also be found under the Chinese title of the journal, Kuo-li
pei-p'ing t'u-shu-kuan kuan-k'an 6.4 (1932):
[sic], with seventeen plates.
x. Rai Sarat Chandra DAS, A Tibetan-English Dictionary (Calcutta: Bengal
Secretariat Book Depot 1902).
y. Otto VON BOHTLINGK, Sanskrit-Worterbuch in kiirzerer Fassung (St. Petersburg:
Kaiserliche Akadernie der Wissenschaften 1879-1889), in reference to the
compound Sittisitti. The same is found in Monier MONIER -WILLIAMS, A Sanskrit-
English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special
Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages (Oxford: The Clarendon Press
1899): 1214c, according to which Sittisitti, in the dual, refers to the Ganges and
Jumna rivers at Prayaga.
z. The te::s:t is Peking (Otani) 787; the Chinese text is found at T. 374 (XII)
381b26-29. These river names have been discussed by SHIMODA Masahiro l'""
EE1B,., 20bun Wayaku "Daijo Nehangyo" JlJtfrJilR (I): An
based upon a Chinese version, not upon a Skt. original. Compo the Otani
catalogue, page 287 and Pelliot's Notes a propos d'un catalogue du Kanjur
(Journ. As., Juillet-Aout 1914, page 130).aa The Chinese translation was
made under the P.ei Liang dynasty (397-439), compo Nanjio No. 113.
Another Tibetan version of the MahiiparinirviiIJasiltra, which is based
upon a Sanskrit original gives us the names of four great rivers (Ganga,
Yamuna, Sarayu and Hingula) only in the corresponding passage. Compo
the A.D. 1692 Kanjur, vol. TV, page 42a, line 8.
According to Boehtlingk and Roth's dictionary Slta (long 1) frequently
occurs as the name of a river in the Mahiibhiirata, etc."b
From the we learn that the (= Slta or Slta) river flows
out of the mouth of a horse's head (made of vairjilrya, fixed to the
western part of the Anavatapta lake. Compo the TaishO Trip. vol. 37, page
43b, line Compo also page 377c (line 25) of volume 35 of the TaishO
Mr. Pankratoff tells me that the Mongolian translation of our document
(reproduced on plate II below) is, on the whole, not quite satisfactory. In
some cases, however, I have accepted the Mongolian translator's interpre-
tations. He renders bskal 8 bzang by saying Zubitu (meaning: auspi-
Annotated Japanese Translation of the Tibetan Version of the Mahayiina Mahii-
parinirviil}asiitra (1). Bibliotheca Indologica et Buddhologica 4 (Tokyo: The
Sankibo Press 1993): 229-30, note 70. SHIMODA suggests *Ganga, *Yamuna,
*Sarayii, * AciravatI, *MahI, *Sindhii, *Bhojya, and *SIda. The last is evidently
an error for SIta.
aa Paul PELUOT: "Notes it propos d'un catalogue du Kanjur," Journal Asiatique,
1914, Onzieme Serle, Tome 4: 111-150.
abo Otto BOHTUNGK and Rudolph ROTH, Sanskrit-Worterbuch. 7 volumes (St.
Petersburg: Kaiserlichen Akadernie der Wissenschaften 1855-75): VII.1014,
top. While the name occurs in the Yogiiciirabhiimi in the form SUa (Vidhushekhara
BHATTACHARYA: The Yogiiciirabhiimi of ACiirya Asmiga: The Sanksrit Text
Compared with the Tibetan Version [Calcutta: The University of Calcutta 1957]:
41.2), in the it has the form SIta (Prahlad PRADHAN:
ofVasubandhu. Tibetan Sanskrit Works 8 [Patna: K.
P. Jayaswal Research Institute 1975]: 162.23 = III.57 cy.).
ac. The Sheng-man pao-k'u is a 6th-7th century commentary on the Srf-
miiliidevf-siitra by the great San-lun scholar Chi-tsang sit in which we find
T. 1744 (XXXVm 43b2-3 the following:
ad. The Hua-yen ching t'an-hsiian chi is a work of the famous
seventh century monk Fa-tsang According to Ono Genmyo's
Bussho Kaisetsu Daijiten (Tokyo: Daito shuppansha *W:/:I:J
AAt, 1932-35: 3.26d), it dates to 687-695. There we read T. 1733 (XXXV)
277c25: lWffii:f\i:$lP
JIABS 22.1 226
cious), which, according to the diCtionaries, is an equivalent of skal bzang
(subhaga), not of bskal bzang (bhadrakalpa). I think he is right in ignoring
the prefixedb, which we find in our document, and I follow his example
in this case.
The Tanjur codices, which Beckh used for this edition of the Meghaduta,
too have bskal bzang (not skal bzang) for subhaga in at least two passages.
Compo Die Tibetische Ubersetzung von Kalidasas Meghaduta von
Hermann Beckh, Berlin, 1907, pages 30 and 33.
Note 5.
We learn from the Chinese line in our document that the Dge slong
ft) Sbyin pa rgya mtsho of the temple called Ch'ung Kuo
Ssii was responsible for the A. D. 1692 Kanjur. Sbyin pa rgya
mtsho himself is evidently the author of the stanzas translated above
(page 1), and this may account for the fact that he appears as a mere
in the A.D. 1692 document. In an A.D. 1734 document issued by
the PaIfchen Lama Blo bzang ye shes dpal bzang po the latter is also
designated as a mere Compo my article "Notes sur un decret du
PaI).-chen Lama date de 1734," which appeared in the Politique de Pekin
(1925)."e Sbyin pa rgya mtsho must have been an important personage,
but I have not succeeded in finding his name in the Chinese or Tibetan
books, which I have examined with the help of numerous Chinese and
Tibetan friends. A part of the manuscript K'ang Hsi records, which used
to be stored in the Forbidden City of Peking, are now in Shanghai. As
soon as these Shanghai manuscripts become accessible (which they are
not at present), I shall examine them, and continue my efforts to learn
more about Sbyin pa rgya mtsho:
ae. The article is found on pp. 300-302 of the journal. My thanks are due J.-L.
Taffarelli, Librarian of the Ecole d'Extreme-Orient, for kindly sending
me a copy. The phrase to which Stael-Holstein refers is: shakya'i dge slong blo
bzang ye shes dpal bzang po.
af. Zahiruddin AHMAD, Sino-Tibetan Relations in the Seventeenth Century. Serie
Orientale Roma 40 (Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente
1970): 305 refers to a Mkhan po Sbyin pa rgya mtsho based on a document of
Thanks to the very kind information of Gene Smith, I can now add the
The author of the postface must be the famed Bka' 'gyur Bla rna Sbyin pa
rgya mtsho (1629-1695), the 46th Khri of Dga' ldan (1692-1695). [See Rudolf
KASCHEWSKY: "Die Abte von Dga' -ldan," Zentralasiatische Studien 4 (1970):
The Tibetan syllables Khrungs gau si are evidently a transliteration of
the Chinese characters (Ch'ung Kuo Ssii). Compo above note 3.
None of the Chinese sources which I have consulted connects the illustrious
'Phags pa with a Peking capital) temple called Ch'ung Kuo Ssii.
There seem to have been several temples in Peking which at a time or
another bore that name. One of them is the present (a
Lama temple), which according to the 53
chapter of the B l'""fi/j{j
was repaired during the reign of the Emperor Khubilai
According to Koppen's Religion des Buddha (II, 97),ah 'Phags pa (born
in A. D. 1233)ai was recognized as the head of Lamaism by Khubilai. In
the 6
chapter of the I\, we find the statement that the
B was written in the 39
year of Ch'ien Lung. aj
Note 6.
I suppose that gser mngal is used here for gser mngal can, which according
to S. C. Das (diet., page 1311) is an equivalent of Skt, hirm:zyagarbha.
This word is an 9 epithet of the god Brahma, who is said to have been
born from a golden egg. Mallinatha's commentary to line 1 of canto 1 of
the Sisupiila-vadha says: hirm:zyasya garbho hirm:zyagarbho brahmii
263: zhe drug pa spyin pa rgya mtsho ni / bka' 'gyur lung tshang ma dar bar
mdzad pas bka' 'gyur pa zhes grags /.] He was from Qinghai and had close
relations with the Manchu. Bsam blo is one of his many titles derived from his
college affiliation; he is also called Ngag dbang dpal bzang, and Bka' 'gyur
Sbyin pa rgya mtsho. The fact that he is called Bka' , gyur ba makes a strong
case that it was this Dga' ldan Khri who was responsible for the carving of this
Peking edition. Probably Sbyin pa rgya mtsho was in Peking until 1692 when
he was named to the throne of Dga' ldan. He was then replaced by the Second
Lcang skya in Peking in 1693. See the chronology in the Bod rgya tshig mdzod
chen mo (Zhang Yisun [Peking: Min-tsu ch'u-pan-she
1985): 3271: 1692: Chos rje bka' 'gyur ba sbyin pa rgya mtsho dga' ldan khrir
phebs, and 1693: Gong ma khang shis leang skya ngag dbang ehos ldan pe cin
du gdan drangs.]
ago Reprinted in Taipei: Kuang-wen shu-chii 1968.
ah. Carl Friedrich KOEPPEN: Die Religion des Buddha: Die Lamaisehe Hierarehie
und Kirehe (Volume 2 of the work) (Berlin: Ferdinand Schneider 1859).
ai. The correct date is 1235.
aj. In the standard edition of 1923 the reference is on page 7a of ehiian 6 il!

nABS 22.1 228
Note 7.
According to the Mahavyutpatti (Sakaki ed., No 8424 and No 8473) gnas
ngan len = dU.Jthula.ak This Sanskrit word means "ein arges Vergehen,"
according to Schmidt's "Nachtrage zum Sanskrit-Worterbuch," page
Note 8.
The venerable patriarch mentioned here is probably the Great Fifth (lnga
pa chen po) Dalai Lama, who was supposed to be still alive in 1692, but
who had actually died in 1682. Compo Koppen, die Religion des BuddFia,
vol. II, pages 173, 174 and 185. On a Tibetan document (No 245 of my
collection) issued by the XIII Dalai Lama in 1909 (sa bya) we find a seal
impression with legends in four languages (Mongolian, Manchu, Tibetan,
and Chinese). The Tibetan and Chinese legends read as follows: Nub
phyogs mchog tu dge ba'i zhing gi rgyal dbang sa steng gi rgyal bstan
yongs kyi bdag po thams cad mkhyen pa badzra dha ra ta fa'i bla ma'i
tham ga
. These legends prove that the XIII Dalai Lama like the patriarch of the
A.D. 1692 document claimed to be the master of universal (not only
Tibetan) Buddhism. This claim which has certainly never been recognized
by the majority of Singhalese, Burmese, Siamese, Annamite, Corean and
Japanese Buddhists was evidently supported by the Peking court. In the
heading of the 1909 document (Gong ma'i lung gis nub phyogs mchog tu
dge ba'i zhing gi rgyal dbang sa steng gi rgyal bstan yongs kyi bdag po
thams cad mkyen pa badzra dha ra ta [sic] la'i bla mar 'bod pa'i gtam)
the XIII Dalai Lama affirms that it is by Imperial command that he bears
the title engraved on his seal. According to the 15
chapter of the iWiGJm
the Emperor in 1724 (Yung Cheng 2) granted the Dalai Lama a seal
bearing the following inscription in Manchu, Mongolian, Chinese, and
Tangut (Jl1fJ:!i;cX): B [sic] t*llimiWuJi
ak. SAKAKI Ryosaburo Mahtivyutpatti (Kyoto: Kyoto Teikoku Daigaku
Bunka Daigaku 3, 1916. Numerous re-
prints.) See the long article on this word in Franklin EDGERTON, Buddhist
Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary (New Haven: Yale University Press 1953), S.V.
al. Richard SCHMIDT: Nachtriige zum Sanskrit-Worterbuch in kiirzerer Fassung
von Otto Bohtlingk (Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz 1928. Reprint: Tokyo: Meicho-
Fukyukai 1983).
Only the Chinese text of the inscription is given in the Wei
Tsang T'ung Chih.
The name of the great reformer is spelt Tsong kha pa here as well as in
many other Tibetan documents. There are, however, some authors, who
call him Btsong kha pa. Compo pages 4 and 10 of my article quoted in
note 4 above.
Note 9.
In the Mongolian version of our document mul corresponds to the syllable
snrul of the Tibetan version. Mul is evidently a corruption of Skt. mala,
and mala (malam) 10 is, according to the Vyutpatti (Sakaki ed., No
3203), a name of the 1 ih The Tibetan name of the
called mala in Skt. is snrubs (notsnrul), compo the Vyutp. 1. c., S. C.
Das, dict., page 772, and the Skt.-Tib. dict. ed. by Bacot, page 99b.
have not found the syllable snrul in any of my dictionaries. In the Mongolian
version of our document satabis corresponds to the syllables man gru of
the Tibetan version. According to the Vyutp. (Sakaki ed., No 3208 and
No 3209), (Tib. man gre or man dre) is the 22
(Tib. man gru) the 23
According to S. C. Das,
however, man gru = and man dre = The Skt.-Tib.
dict. published by Bacot (page 131b) and the (chapter I,
page 5bt
agree with the Vyutp. as to the Skt. equivalents of man gru
danista) and man gre satabis)."P Copies of the
am. The Wei-tsang t'ung-chih ffiiiZJm;t;, printed in 1896, was reprinted by Li Yli-shu
(Taipei: Wen-hai ch'u- pan-she :>ciWt:IJW* 1965), in the series Chung-
kuo pien-chiang ts'ung-shu: ti 1 chi 15. The cited passage
is found in chuan 15, Ib (my punctuation):
.;!HP:>CBo g-;R S m

an. Jacques BACOT: Dictionnaire Tibetain-Sanskrit par Tse-ring-ouang-gyal.
Buddhica, Deuxieme serie, Documents, Tome 2 (Paris: Librairie Orientaliste
Paul Geuthner 1930).
ao. I do not have access to the cited work, but in the Wu-t'j Ch'ing-wen-chien
edited in Gotai Shinbunkan Yakkai (Tamura Jitsuzo EBftJf
Imanishi Shunju and Sato Hisashi {ic,ii!!t, eds., Kyoto: Kyoto
Daigaku Bungakubu Nairiku Ajia Kenkyujo
FJT 1966), mon gru is found as item 92 and mon gre as item 93, with the
Mongolian equivalents cited by Stael-Holstein. Note also that snrubs is found
as item 87.
ap. The new, critical edition of the Mahiivyutpatti, Yurniko IsHlHAMA and Yoichi
FUKUDA, A New Critical Edition of the Mahavyutpatti. Studia Tibetica 16.
JIABS 22.1 230
Ssu T'i Ho Pi Wen Chien are available in the libraries of St. Petersburg
and Paris. Compo P. G. von Mollendorff's Essay on Manchu Literature,
Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New. Series,
vol. XXIV, Shanghai 1890, page 14."Q
I have not met with the Tibetan and Mongolian designations of the
months and days, which we find in our document, before. My Lama.
friends are also not acquainted with them, and I have tried in vain to find
the regular equivalents of these unusual expressions with the help of the
books available in Peking.
Note 10.
I have not been able to examine the entire Sung Chu Ssu Kanjur myself,
but one of my Lama friends, who has the entree of the Sung Chu Ssu
library, tells me that the copy is complete and that it shows all the
characteristics of the A.D. 1692 edition. The few volumes of the Sung
Chu Ssu Kanjur which I have seen confirm my Lama friend's statements.
Compo my edition of the KiiSyapaparivarta, Shanghai 1926, page XX.
Note II.
24 (KA-YA) volumes of the A. D. 1692 edition belong to the Tantra
division, the various collections of the Prajfiapararnita class fill 24 (RA-A,
and KI-TSI) volumes, the Maharatnakil!a 6 (TSHI-'I), the Buddha-
vatamsaka 6 (YJ-HI), the miscellaneous siitras, Mdo sna tshogs,32 (I-KE),
and the Vinaya 13 (KHE-PHE). The printed Mongolian Kanjur has 108
volumes. Compo the page According to a Chinese table
of contents (xylograph belonging to Harvard University), which agrees
with the Tibetan table of contents (xylograph belonging to myself), 25
volumes (which include a volume containing Bu ston's collection of
dhiiral}fs, and another volume containing the Ral pa gyen brdzes kyi
rgyud) of the printed Mongolian Kanjur belong to the Tantra division, the
Materials for Tibetan-Mongolian Dictionaries 1 (Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko 1989),
reads only man gre for However the reading man dre does appear in
several dictionaries, for example the Dge bshes chos kyi grags pas brtsams pa'i
brda dag ming tshig gsal ba bzhugs so (Peking: Min-tsu ch'u-pan-she
1tJi(* 1981): 650. Note that the Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen rna (see note af,
above), p. 2123, identifies man gru with and man gre with
aq. P. G. MOLLENDORFF, "Essay on Manchu Literature," Journal of the China
Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society for the year 1889-90, New Series 24 (1890):
ar. I have been unable to identify this work.
various collections of the Prajfiaparamita 11 class fill 22 volumes, the
Maharatnakuta 6, the Buddhavatamsaka 6, the miscellaneous sutras 33,
and the Vinaya 16.
The Tibetan table of contents mentioned above is preceded by a lengthy
introduction, which is missing in the Chinese version. We learn from this
introduction that the editors of the Mongolian Kanjur, who were appointed
by the Emperor K'ang Hsi, knew only of manuscript copies of the
Mongolian Kanjur (sog yig bka' 'gyur), and we have no reason to believe
that they were wrong in regarding the edition which they published as the
first printed edition of the Mongolian Kanjur.
An important date mentioned in the introduction is the 19
day of 3
month of the 56
year after the accession of His Majesty [K'ang Hsi] to
the throne which governs the universe (literally: all regions, khyon thams
cad). On that day the Emperor K'ang Hsi ordered one of his officers to
announce to the venerable monks (bla ma ser mo ba), the Mongolian
Princes (sog po'i dbang), Dukes etc. that the Mongolian Kanjur would be
engraved on blocks [for printing] (dpar bzhengs). Upon hearing the good
news everybody rejoiced as if he had obtained a cintamalJi or philosophers'
stone (thams cad kyis yid bzhin gyi nor bu myed pa Ita bu'i dga' bas rjes
su yi rangs). The introduction goes on to say that in accordance with the
Emperor's orders the existing hand-written Mongolian Kanjur was com-
pared with the Tibetan Kanjur, and that the Mongolian text was revised
(zhu dag) by noted scholars, who spoke both languages (skad gnyis smra
ba). My xylograph does not tell us when the editing work was finished,
but it mentions the Mongolian Kanjur as well engraved (dpar legs par
grub pa) at the end of the introduction. This proves that the cutting of the
blocks for the Mongolian Kanjur must have been completed not later
than the 3
month of the 59
year of K' ang Hsi [A. D. 1720], which is
the date of my xylograph (page 34b, line 5). The latter adds the cyclical
designation of the year (lcags byi, iron mouse) to the Chinese date for
greater precision. According to Kowalewski's Mongolian Chrestomathy
(vol. I, page 264) a Mongolian Kanjur was revised in Peking under Yung
Cheng (1723-1736) and printed during the fIrst half of the XVIII century."'
Compo Kazakevich's Russian translation of Laufer's Skizze der mongoli-
schen Literatur, page 54.
as. The work mentioned is the Mongolskaia khrestomatiia of Osip Mikhailovich
KOVALEVSKII (Kazan: V Universitetskoi tipografii 1836). I have not been able
to locate a copy of this work.
at. I do not have access to the Russian translation, but the German original is to be
JIABS 22.1 232
Note 12.
Different titles are ascribed to this work in the Tibetan index (Dkar
chag), at the beginning of the text, and in the colophon which says: Ral
pa gyen brdzes kyi rgyud phyi ma rdzags sa. Dr. Laufer (Bulletin de
l'Academie Imperiale des Sciences de St. Petersbaurg 1909, page 571)
mentions this work:
and refers his readers to line 2 of page 9a of the
XX volume of the Rgyud division of the A. D. 1700 Kanjur, which he
saw at Hsi An. The words ral pa gyen brdzes do appear on line 2 of page
la of the XXII (ZA in Tibetan and .:::::.+.:::::. in Chinese) volume of the
Rgyud division 12 in the A. D. 1700 Kanjur which the Yung Ho KUJ;lg
lamasery possesses (not on XX. 9a 2). Compo page 157 of the Otani
catalogue, according to which the Ral pa gyen brdzes kyi rtag pa chen pa
occupies vol. ZA and plate IV below, on which the
first and the last page of the Ral pa gyen brdzes kyi rgyud (as they appear
in the A. D. 1700 Kanjur) are reproduced.
The difference between XX 9a 2 and XXII la 2 may be due to misprints,
but Dr. Laufer's (page 570) statement that merely 31 (not 32) volumes of
the Hsi An Kanjur are occupied by the Mda sna tshags, can not be
explained by assuming a typographical error (Dr. Laufer gives 105 as the
total number of volumes in the Hsi An Kanjur). Dr. Laufer bases his
table of contents on a Tibetan Dkar chag containing 21 leaves. The
Tibetan Dkar chag which I possess has also 21 leaves (not counting the
amended copy of leaf No 1, compo note 15 below), and it enumerates 32
(not 31) Mdo sna tshags volumes (I-KE), as does the Otani catalogue
(pages 267-393). The Yung Ho Kung copy of the A.D. 1700 Kanjur has
certainly 32 Mdo sna tshags volumes (I-KE). Shall we assume that two
Tibetan Kanjur editions were published in A. D. 1700, one of which had
found in Berthold LAUFER: "Skizze der Mongolischen Literatur," Keleti Szeml'el
Revue Orientale pour les Etudes ouralo-altarques 8 (1907): 165-261. Reprinted
in Kleinere Schriften von Berthold Laufer. Teil 1, pt. 2: Publikationen aus der
Zeit von 1894 bis 1910, Sinologica Coloniensia Bd. 2. Hartmut Walravens, ed.
(Wiesbaden: Franz-Steiner Verlag 1976): 1120-1216. On the Mongol Kanjur,
see now Walther HEISSIG: Beitriige zur Ubersetzungsgeschichte des Mongoli-
schen Buddhistischen Kanons. Abhandlungen der Akadernie der Wissenschaften
in Gottingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse 50. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck &
Ruprecht 1962.
au. Berthold LAUFER, "Die Kanjur-Ausgabe des Kaisers K'ang-hsi," Izvestija Imper-
atorskoj Akademii Nauk, 1909: 567-74. Reprinted in Kleinere Schriften von
Berthold Laufer. Teil 1, pt. 2: Publikationen aus der Zeit von 1894 bis 1910,
Sinologica Coloniensia Bd. 2. Hartmut Walravens, ed. (Wiesbaden: Franz-Steiner
Verlag 1976): 1352- 59.
32 Mdo sna tshogs volumes, while the other one had merely 31? I regard
the hypothesis, that the distinguished orientalist, who had to work under
rather unfavourable conditions when he prepared his table of contents at
Hsi An, erred in his calculations, as preferable.
On page 574 of his article Dr. Laufer states that "der von roten Linien
eingerahmte rechteckige Schriftsatz" measures 58.9 x 15 cm. This agrees
fairly well with my observations: the "rechteckige Schriftsatz" on the
leaves (except the first leaves of the volumes) of the Tibetan K'ang Hsi
Kanjurs, which I have seen, is of about the same size. The latter varies,
however, to a certain extent, and on some leaves, which I have examined,
the "rechteckige Schriftsatz" is over 60 cm. long. My own copy of the A.
D. 1692 edition as well as the Sung Chu Ssu copy of the A. D. 1692
edition, and the Yung Ho Kung copy of the A. D. 1700 edition are
printed with red ink. Another (incomplete) copy of the A. D. 1700 Kanjur,
of which I possess a number of leaves, is, however, printed with black
Note 13.
In an A. D. 1724 document (comp. Cordier's Catalogue dufonds tib.,
vol. III, page 535) we find the statement that a Kanjur consisting of 106
volumes was published by order of the Emperor K'ang Hsi.
This state-
ment evidently refers to the A. D. 1700 edition. Compo also the
III (completed in the 3
year of TaishO), page 364.
All the
volumes described in the Otani catalogue are marked with Tibetan numerals
(the ordinary numerals KA-PHE and the "extra" numerals OM and
except the 107
volume which contains the Dkar chag. This seems to
prove that the Dkar chag (21 leaves) was not regarded as a volume of the
avo Pahnyr CORDIER: Catalogue du Fonds Tibetain de la Bibliotheque Nationale.
Troisieme Partie, Index du Bstan-l}.gyur (TiMtain 180-332) (Paris: Imprimerie
Nationale 1915): 535. The reference is to the Tanjur dkar chag (Bstan bcos
'gyur ro cog gi dkar chag 'Jig rten gsum gyi bde skyid pad tshal bzhad pa'i
nyid byed ces bya ba). CORDIER's is a catalogue of the Peking Tanjur. Some
remarks about the dating of the publication of the Peking Tanjur were offered
by J. W. DE JONG in a review of Claus Vogel's Viigbha!a' s
(Abhandlungen fiir die Kunde des Morgenlandes 37.2,Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner
1965), Indo-Iranian lournallO.4 (1968): 296.
aw. TERAMOTO Enga "Chibetto Daizokyo Somokuroku Hensan ni tsuite"
I [On the compilation of the catalogue of the
Tibetan Tripitaka], Bukkyo Shigaku 3.5 (Aug. 1914): 350-65; 3.6
(Sept. 1914): 454-60.
JIABS 22.1 234
Kanjur. The Imperial 13 Tanjur Dkar chag (204 leaves), a much more
voluminous compiiation, is marked with a numeral (TSO) and is regarded
as one of the 225 volumes of the Imperial Tibetan Tanjur. Compo
op. cit., III, 534. The different treatment of the two Dkar chags may be
due to the fact that a much higher degree of sanctity is attached to the
Kanjur than to the Tanjur, and that a mere table of contents could not be.
coordinated with the sacred scriptures composing the Kanjur. On page
570 of his article quoted above (note 12) Dr. Laufer mentions a Kanjur
Dkar chag, and does evidently not regard it as one of the volumes of the
Note 14.
It is a significant fact that in the A. D. 1700 edition the Ral pa gyen
brdzes kyi rgyud follows immediately after the 'Jig rten mchod bstod
sgrub pa rtsa ba'i rgyud, which, according to Csoma-Feer, is the last
work of the Rgyud division in the [Narthang] Kanjur. Compo Ann. du
Musee Guimet, vol. n, page 348:
Note 15.
There is a Chinese catalogue of the Kanjur which reflects the state of
things (as far as the division Rgyud is concerned) which must have
existed in A. D. 1692. I mean the which we find on
pages 1040-1053 of the first volume of the This
ax. Already in 1932 in his catalogue, mentioned above in note b, SAKURABE (III:422,
note (-) expressed his doubt about the inclusion of the dkar chag in the numbering
of the Kanjur proper. Moreover, it is clear that the Peking dkar chag is to be
attached to the very first volume of the Rgyud section, with which the Kanjur
begins. (I am grateful to Dr Eimer for his clarification of this issue in his letteJ;s
of 2 Dec., 1998 and 11 March, 1999.)
ay. 1 have at hand only a copy of CSOMA DE KOROS's original English "Analysis
of the Sher-chin-P'hal-ch'hen-Dkon-seks-Do-de-Nyang-das-and Gyut; being
the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Divisions of the Tibetan Work, entitled the
Kah-gyur." Reprinted in Analysis of the Kanjur. Bibliotheca Indo-Buddhica 2
(Delhi: Sri Satguru 1982). This of course contains the same indication at the
end of the Rgyud as does Leon PEER's French re-working of CSOMA's catalogue,
Analyse du Kandjour, recueil des livres sacres au Tibet. Annales du Musee
Guimet 2 (Paris: E. Leroux 1881). The 'Jig rten mchod bstod sgrub pa rtsa ba'i
rgyud is the last work in volume zha of the Peking Rgyud.
az. See SAKURABE Bunkyo "Nyorai daizokyo somokuroku ni tsuite"
[On the Ju-lai catalogue to the Tibetan canon], Shakyo
Kenkya (n.s.) 7.1 (1930): 139-148. The Showa Hobo Somokuroku IlB
catalogue does not mention the Ral pa gyen brdzes kyi rgyud and states
that the 22
[ZA] volume of the Kanjur is occupied by Bu ston's collection
of dhiirm;fs JfI JEmlt:&
I possess another (undated xylograph) edition of the I
which differs somewhat from the edition published in the I
In my block-print, of which pages la and 8a are reproduced on plate
VI below, Bu ston's collection of dhiiraJ:zfs is stated to occupy the superior
first (J::m-) volume and the Ral pa gyen brdzes kyi rgyud
etc.) the 22
volume (i.e. the 23
volume if we consider the J::m
- volume as No 1 and the m- volume as No 2 etc.).
A complete Tibetan Dkar chag in my possession, which resembles the
K'ang Hsi Kanjurs in outward appearance, does not agree with either of
the Chinese catalogues just mentioned. It ignores Bu ston's collection of
dhiiraJ:zfs and affirms that the Ral pa gyen brdzes kyi rgyud occupies
volume ZA (22). To the 21 uniform block-printed leaves of this Dkar
chag a slightly larger leaf has been added, on which an amended edition
of the first page is printed. On plate V below the two versions of the first
page are reproduced, and we find that only the later edition of the first
page mentions Bu ston's collection of dhiirm:zfs at the top of the list as
contained in the "extra" volume OIyI which takes precedence over volume
No 1 (KA). Bu ston's collection of dhiira1}fs has probably been the object
of scholastic discussions between the various 14 editors, because its
right to form part of the Kanjur is indeed questionable. The collection,
though composed of words ascribed to the Buddha, is admittedly nothing
but a kind of anthology compiled by a mere man, who lived about eighteen
centuries after the Nirvfu;ta.
The Mongolian translation of the Tibetan Kanjur Dkar chag (undated
xylograph) which I possess also shows the puzzling peculiarities mentioned
above. The fIrst page only is found in it in two editions (one without the
volume OIyI, and the other one with it), and it affirms that the volume ZA
contains the Ral pa gyen brdzes kyi rgyud.
is a collection of catalogues and other sources, published as an
appendix to the Taish6 edition of the Chinese canon.
ba. The reference is found in ShOwa HobO Somokuroku I (text
18): 1045c29-1046al.
JIABS 22.1 236
Baron Schilling von Canstadt's Kanjur index with J. J. Schmidt's preface
is unfortunately not available in Peking.
Mr. Jacques Bacot, directeur
d'etudes a l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes, has given us some biographical
data about the author of this Kanjur index, who seems to have brought
the fIrst considerable collection of Tibetan books to Europe. Compo J oumal
Asiatique, Octobre-Decembre 1924, pages 321-348.
Note 16.
The printed emendations which we find in the A. D. 1700 edition have in
very many cases been inserted into my copy of the A. D. 1692
the hand of an unknown scribe. The latter has, however, ignored the fact
that not only the Tibetan but also the Chinese markings on the pages of
Bu stan's collection had been changed by the A. D. 1700 editors. The
unknown scribe's hand has written 01\1 over the printed ZA (which is,
bb. The reference is to the posthumously published catalogue of the Derge Kanjur
prepared by SCHILLING VON. CANST ADT and published by the ImEerial Academy
of Sciences, with a forward by Isaak Jacob SCHMIDT: oder
Der Index des Kanjur. St.-Petersburg 1845. Printed in Leipzig by Leopold
Voss. This has a "Vorwort" in German, and is followed by a handwritten
Tibetan catalogue. It also has an "Alphabetischer Index." SCHILLING VON IDE
CANST ADT also had compiled an Index du Gandjour. Imprime dans Ie Couvent
de Goumboum dans Ie Tubet [sic]. Compose par Le Baron Schilling de Canstadt.
Kiakhta, 1831. (Kiakhta is the Mongolian city now more commonly spelled
Kyakhta, located very near to Altan Bulag.) This is handwritten entirely in
Tibetan dbu can, save for the title page, the notation "Index systematique"
before the dkar chag proper, and "Index alphabetique" before the alphabetical
listing (in Tibetan alphabetical order) of the contents. According to the just
published The Brief Catalogues to the Narthang and the Lhasa Kanjurs: A
Edjtiy!1 of the and the
Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und
Buddhismuskunde 40 (Vienna: Arbeitskreis flir Tibetische und Buddhistische
Studien, UniversiUit Wien 1998): 8-9, this is a catalogue of the Narthang Kanjur.
A few Arabic numbers have been added to the original from which my photocopy
was made, as well as a notation in French handwritten beneath the indication
"Index alphabetique," explaining the indications in the Index. An Introduction
in French was published posthumously in 1848 by Otto BOHTLINGK:
"Bibliotheque bouddhique ou Index du Gandjour de Nartang [sic], compose
sous la direction du Baron Schilling de Canstadt." Bulletin de la Classe des
Sciences historiques, philologiques et politiques de l'Academie Imperiale des
Sciences de Saint-Petersbourg, n. Serie, No. 93 (Tome IV, No. 21): 321-36;
and No. 94 (Tome IV, No. 22): 337-39.
bc. Jacques BACOT: "La Collection Tibetaine Schilling von Canstadt ala Bibliotheque
de l'Institut," Journal Asiatique 205 (1924): 321-348.
however, still clearly distinguishable) on page 55 a of B u ston' s collection,
but he has left the Chinese number of the volume (= + =) unchanged.
Compo plate III below.
Note 17.
Pages 161b-175b of volume TSI contain a Tibetan version of the Vajra-
cchedikii. On page 169a (line 1) of the A. D. 1700 ed. an empty space
between the words bsod nams kyi and phung po (which corresponds to
Skt. pU1:lyaskandham, page 15, line 3 of Max Milller's edition) attracts
our attention.
The A. D. 1692 ed. has bsod nams kyis phung po, and
the A. D. 1700 engraver must have simply obliterated the faulty character
representing s. In order to close the resulting gap a rearrangement of the
correct characters, and consequently the insertion of a piece of wood,
would have been necessary. In this as well as in many similar cases the
insertion has, however, been dispensed with, and as a result of these
omissions unexpected gaps abound in the A. D. 1700 edition. On line 3
of page 174a of vol. TSI the A. D. 1692 edition omits the word tshe,
which corresponds to Skt. veliiyiim (page 25, line 4, of Max Milller's
edition), and the A. D. 1700 edition has it. On line 8 of page 174b of the
same volume the A. D. 1692 ed. has tshogs mang ba yin nam, and the A.
D. 15 1700 ed.: tshogs de mang ba yin nam (de, the Tib. equivalent of
Skt. sa is required here, compo page 26, line 15 of Max Milller's edition).
In these cases the A. D. 1700 engraver must have applied the process
described above (page 2).
Note 18.
On lines 3-4 of page 99a of volume JU the A. D. 1700 ed. has nga rgyal
gyi dbang du gyur pa ma yin te / 'thol zhing bshags pa 'i phyir ro (in the
A. D. 1692 ed. the important words ma yin are missing).
The words in question occur in one of the Tibetan translations of the
Mahiiparinirvii1}asiitra, and the PeiLiang translation of the work (from
Sanskrit into Chinese) proves that the A. D. 1700 ed. has the better read-
bd. F. MAX MULLER: Buddhist Texts from Japan. Anecdota Oxoniensia, Texts,
Documents, and Extracts, chiefly from Manuscripts in the Bodleian and other
Oxford Libraries. Aryan Series, vol. I - Part 1 (Oxford: The Clarendon Press
1881). Note that for some reason Stael-Holstein has counted the actual pages of
the text of the Vajracchedikii, which begins on page 19 of MAX MULLER's
booklet. The references therefore correspond to pages 33, 43 and 44 as printed
on the pages of the edition.
nABS 22.1 238
ing. The Chinese characters which the Pei Liang
version has, have the same meaning as the Tibetan phrase, which we find
in the A. D. 1700 edition. Compo the TaishO Trip. vol. XII, page 400c,
lines 7-8.
The following emendation found in the A. D. 1700 ed. is likewise
supported by the Pei Liang version: nub par 'gyur bar rig par bya'a (A.
D. 1692 ed.: nub par 'gyur bar bya'a, Pei Liang: ... compo
JU 308a 7 and TaishO XII 472a 15-16). The A. D. 1700 reading found on
JU 316a 8 (me dang rlung dang sdug bsngal dang) is also preferable to
the A. D. 1692 reading: me dang sdug bsngal dang. Compo Taisho XII
474c 23:
It does not seem probable that the A. D. 1700 emendations are the
results of comparative Sino-Tibetan or Indo-Tibetan studies. The texts
were probably amended with the help of Tanjur texts only, but I am not
in a position to indicate the particular written or printed authorities, on
which the A. D. 1700 editors relied.
Note 19.
The Chinese translations of the SaddharmapUly!arfkasiltra by
( S A and Kumarajlva (S A also agree with the A. D. 1700 Tibetan
version. Compo the TaishO Trip., vol. IX, page 67a, line 12, and vol IX,
page 4c, line 26.
Note 20.
Not all the emendations which we find in the A. D. 1700 text of the Tib.
Saddharmapu1Jarfkasiltra can be regarded as improvements. The A. D.
1692 line (dge slang dag sangs rgyas kyi spyan gyis ngas), for instance,
which corresponds to the words aharh (Skt.
ed. page 145, line 7), is surely to be preferred to the "amended" A. D.
1700 (CRU 63a 7) line: dge slang khyad (not khyed) dag sangs rgyas kyi
spyan gyis ngas (ten instead of the nine syllables, which the metre
requires).be 16
On page 195b, line 3, the A. D. 1700 editors have changed 'khar las
sras (A. D. 1692 ed.) into 'khar los sras. The syllables occur in the
be. According to NAKAMURA, "Chibetto-yaku Hokekyo," CLD read the line dge
slong khyed dag sangs rgyas spyan gyis ngas, which is metrical. I have not
been able to check any of the so-called Western Kanjurs, such as the sTog
Palace Kanjur, the Toyo Bunko manuscript or the London manuscript. It would
be very interesting to determine their readings of this line.
Tibetan translation of the words rajfiaJ:t SubhavYilhasyantaJ:tpuras catur-
asftir antaJ:tpurikasahasra1}y asya Saddharmapu1}c)arfkasya dharmaparya-
yasya bhajanabhiltany abhiivan, which Kern (S. B. E. XXI. 424) translates
as follows:bfNow at that juncture, young men of good family, the eighty-
four thousand women of the harem of the king Subhavyuha became
worthy of being receptacles of this Dharmaparyaya of the Lotus of the
True Law. The correct Tibetan translation of the words antaJ:tpuras
caturasftir antaJ:tpurikiisahasra1}y would be: btsun rna' i 'khor las slas
brgyad khri bzhi stong. The A. D. 1700 editors have retained the faulty
sras (meaning: son) of the A. D. 1692 edition and further debased the
corrupt translation by changing las into los (probably under the influence
of the well-known expression 'khor los sgyur ba'i rgyal po 'i btsun rna,
compo my ed. of the KtiSyapaparivarta, page 122, line 1). According to
laeschke (dict., page 586) slas = wives and servants. Some of the emenda-
tions, which we find in the A. D. 1700 ed., are only partly correct. On
page CHU 201a 5-6, for instance, the A. D. 1700 ed. has: sarvasatva-
ruta / kosalyakausalyanugate (A. D. 1692: sarvasatvaruta / kosalyanagate,
the Skt. text of the Lotus sutra, page 477: sarvasattvarutakausalyanu-
The A. D. 1700 editor has evidently forgotten to obliterate the
faulty syllables kosalya.
KumarajIva transliterates the dhara1}f, in which
the expression occurs, but
gives (a very imperfect) translation of it Compo the TaishO
Trip., vol. IX, page 61b, line 26-27, and vol. IX, page 133b, line 9. This
is not the only dhara1}fwhich exists in a Chinese translation as well as in
a Chinese transliteration. Compo my notes 3 and 10 on pages 181 and 183
of the' Supplementary volume I of the Bulletin of the Institute of History
and Philology of the Academia Sinica (Peiping 1932).bi
bf. Hendrik KERN, The Saddharma-pundarfka, or The Lotus of the True Law.
Sacred Books of the East 21 (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1884). The Sanskrit is
found on page 463.10-11. NAKAMURA's text reads: brtsun mo'i 'khor los [CDLN:
las] sras [DLN: slas] brgyad khri bzhi stong.
bg. This is a dhiirmy.l, and thus transcribed in Tibetan. The Sanskrit here is found at
bh. Compare the observation on this false reading already in Eugene BURNOUF: Le
Lotus de la Bonne Loi (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale 1852; Reprint: Adrien
Maisonneuve 1989): 433.
bi. "On a Peking, a St. Petersburg, and a Kyoto reconstruction of a Sanskrit stanze
transcribed with Chinese characters under the Northern Sung Dynasty," in the
Ts'ai Yiian-p'ei Anniversary Volume (Supplementary volume 1 of the Bulletin
of the Institute of History and Philology of the Academia Sinica, 1932): 175-87.
JIABS 22.1 240
On page 186 of the Skt. text of the Lotus sutra we find the adjective
adhimuktisiiriirh eCRU 82b 1: mos pa snying por byed pa), which is
followed by the adjective sunyadhannagatirhgatiirh (stong pa 'i chos rtogs
par khong du chud pa). The A D. 1700 ed. inserts the syllables stong
pa'i chos rtogs par byed pa, which are missing in the A. D. 1692 ed. and
have no equivalent in the Skt. version, between the two expressions.
Neither in nor in KumarajIva's translation do we find
anything corresponding to the additional adjective. Compo the TaishO
Trip., vol. IX,page 92b, line 19, and vol. IX, page 25c, line 21.
Note 21.
On page 171 of my edition of the KiiSyapaparivarta we find four Tibetan
lines which are not represented in the Indian and Chinese versions of the
work. These lines are missing in the A. D. 1692 Kanjur, but the A D.
1700 edition as well as the N arthang (Snar thang) edition have them. In
at least two cases the readings of the 17 AD. 1700 Tibetan version of
the Kiis-yapaparivarta are certainly wrong. 'I 123a 2: sems can yongs su
tshol ba'i brtson 'grus so, Skt., page 142, lines 21-22:
vfryarh, A D. 1692: sems yongs su etc. 'I 123a 8: 'jig cing 'jug pa'o,
Skt., page 144, line 10: bhagnavilfna, AD. 1692: 'jig cing 'ju ba'o. In
both cases the Skt. text proves the A D. 1692 readings to be correct.
The Chinese reference is Ch'ing-chu Ts' ai Yiian-p' ei Hsien-sheng Liu-shih-wu-sui
Lun-wen-chi: (Kuo-li) chung-yang yen-chiu-yiian Ii-shih yii-yen yen-chiu-so chi-
k'an: Wai-pien 1 A .
5I:.fIii 1iJf!JEffl_fIJ .
bj. The Sanskrit is found on 186.10. No additional term is found either in the
Kashgar (Hirofumi TODA: SaddharmapUly;!arfkasutra: Central Asian Manu-
scripts, Romanized Text [Tokushima: Kyoiku Shuppan Center 1981]) or Gilgit
(Shoko WATANABE: SaddharmapUl:u;!arfka Manuscripts Found in Gilgit. Part
Two: Romanized Text [Tokyo: The Reiyukai 1975]) texts. The Tibetan text of
Peking printed by NAKAMURA, however, while very cramped, indicating there
was some correction made on the blocks to accomodate the extra text, cites no
variants from CDLN. The so-called Western Kanjurs, sTog, London, Toyo
Bunko, should definitely be checked.
bk. Both are confirmed by the sTog Palace Kanjur, dkon brtsegs, cha: 97, sTog
230b4; 98, sTog 231a3.
Note 22.
Mademoiselle Lalou (Journal Asiatique, Octobre-Decembre 1927, pages
256 and 238)bl has already pointed out that the
PTcchii is missing in the Berlin manuscript Kanjur and that there is a
mistake connec"ted with it in the "table des matieres du Kanjur de Pekin,"
which is probably a copy of the block-printed Tibetan Dkar chag mentioned
above (pages 12 and 13). In this Dkar chag (page 14a, line 5) the Bhadra-
appears as the lag bzangs kyi[s] zhus pa (I omit
the Tibetan equivalents of iirya, of niima, and of mahiiyiinasiitra). This
title is a translation of Skt. SubiihupariPTcchii. In the Chinese block-printed
Dkar chag or catalogue mentioned above (page 15) and in the Chinese
Dkar chag published in the we also find the equivalent
of Subahu (%I>.=f.) where we would expect to find the equivalent of
Bhadrapala. The is referred to in these
Chinese Dkar chags with the characters (I omit the Chinese
equivalent of mahiiyiinasiitra, compo the flHfp etc., vol. I, page 1049c,
line 7). The con- fusion of the names Subahu and Bhadrapala =
tshong dpon = is an unimportant part of the title) would not surprise
us, if the Chinese version of the Dkar chag of the Tibetan Kanjur could
not be regarded as the original version, because %I>"f (Miao Shou, a
possible equivalent of BhadrapaIa) might very easily be mixed up with
its homophone %I>.=f. (Miao Shou, which actually renders Subahu in the
Mahiivyutpatti, Sakaki edition, No. 3242) by a Chinese scribe. But the
Chinese version cannot be the original, because there are too many obvious
Tibetanisms in it.
The Skt. word satasiihasrika (Otani cat., page 230, line 3) appears as
TB (= 1.100, instead of BT = 100.000) in the Chinese Dkar chag
(comp. the flHfp etc., vol. I, page 1049a, line 25). This is evidently due to
a misinterpretation of the words stong phrag brgya (= 100.000), which
we find in the Tibetan Dkar chag (page 13 a, line 6). The Skt. name
Sumati (Otani cat., page 248, line 15) appears as (mati + su) in the
Chinese Dkar chag (comp. the flHfp etc., vol. I, page 1049b, line 26).
This is evidently due to a misinterpretation of the words blo gros bzang
mas, which we find in the Tib. Dkar chag (page 14a, line 1). The Skt.
name Susthitamati (Otani cat., page 250, line 18) appears as
(mati + susthita) in the Chinese Dkar chag (comp. the flHfp etc., vol. J,
page 1049c, line 3). This is evidently due to a misinterpretation of the
bL Marcelle LALOU: "La version tibetaine du Ratnakiita: Contribution a la biblio-
graphie du Kanjur," Journal Asiatique 211. 2 (1927): 233-59.
JIABS 22.1 242
words blo gros rab gnas kyis, which we'find in the Tib. Dkar chag (page
14a, line 3). In a similar way the curious name 18 [DattavimaHi.,
instead of Vimaladatta], which we find in the Chinese Dkar chag {compo
the RBfrl etc., vol. I, page 1049b, line 29) can be explained. The Skt.
name Gangottara (Otani cat., page 248, line 25) appears as iliIi,,* in the
Chinese Dkar chag (comp. the RBflJ etc., vol. I, page 1049b, line 27). ,
This is evidently due to a misinterpretation of the words gang ga 'i mchog,
which we find in the Tib. Dkar chag (page 14a, line 2). The Tibeto-Chinese
translator has not recognized the name of the Indian river (Gan ga, sic)
and faithfully translated the syllable gari (which is Indian, not Tibetan)
into Chinese (iliIi too means "full") as if it had been Tibetan. On the
hand, the Tibeto-Chinese translator of the Dkat chag transliterated the
Tibetan syllable gang (po) in a title where it should have been rendered
by iliIi (or Ililili etc.) or by a transliteration of the Skt. name PfuJ;la. To the
Skt. title Purr;.apramukh,a-avadiinasataka (Otani cat., page 390, line 9)
the words gang po la sogs pa'i rtogs pa brjod pa brgya pa (Tib. Dkar
chag, page 20a, lines 7-8) and (comp. the RBflJ etc.,
vol. I, page 1052c, line 19) correspond in our Dkar chags.
Note 23.
The A. D. 1692 volumes ZA (285 leaves, A. D. 1700: 3321.), zm (331
1., A. D. 1700: 3501.), and 'I (288 1., A. D. 1700: 3111.) are the only ones
which differ from the A. D. 1700 volumes (bearing the same Tibetan
ordinals) in the number of their leaves. The difference between the A. D.
1692 volume ZA and the A. D. 1700 volume ZA is, of course, due to the
fact that Bu ston's collection of dhiiranfs, which filled volume ZA in the
. \
A. D. 1692 edition, was transferred to the newly added volume OM in A.
D. 1700, and that the Ral pa gyen brdzes kyi rgyud occupied the
vacated by Bu ston's compilation. Comp.above pages 2 and 13.
Note 24.
Page 'I 50b of the A. D. 1700 edition seems to have been printed with a
newly prepared block (not with an A. D. 1692 block corrected by the A.
D. 1700 editors). Nearly all the other blocks of the A. D. 1692 edition
have evidently been used by the A. D. 1700 editors (who amended a
considerable part of them and added the blocks for the Ral pa gyen
brdzes kyi rgyud, the Vidyutpriiptaparip!cchii and the Bhadrapiilapari-
P!cchii to their number) for the A. D. 1700 Kanjur. Compo above pages 2
and 13. Owing to the insertion of the Bhadrapiilaparip!cchii into the
middle of volume 'I the great majority of its leaves had to be renumbered,
and the KiiSyapaparivarta, for instance, is found on pages lOOb - 138a in
the A. D. 1700 edition (in the A. D. 1692 edition: on pages 77b - lISa).
The insertion of the VidyutpriiptaparipTcchii caused less trouble, because
the 19 proper place of that work is after the U grapariPTcchii, which is
the last sutra in the A. D. 1692 edition of volume ZHI.
Note 25.
A number of irregularities, which Beckh has discovered in the Berlin
manuscript Kanjur, are found equally in the A. D. 1692 edition. Both
collections have vepuUya (instead of vaipulya) in the Skt. title of the first
volume of the Buddhiivatarhsaka. Compo page 14 of Beckh's Verzeichnis
and the first page of volume YI of the A. D. 1692 edition. Both collections
designate the VyiisaparipTcchii as the 48
le'u of the Ratnakiita, and both
add a note to the effect that it is the 49
Ie 'u. Compo Beckh's Verzeichnis,
page 25. On page 288a of volume 'I of the A. D. 1692 edition we read
the following words: 'Phags pa dkon mchog brtsegs pa chen po'i chos
kyis [sic] rnam grangs le'u stong phrag brgya pa las / drang srongrgyas
pa'i zhus pa 'i Ie 'u zhes bya ste bzhi bcu rtsa brgyad pa rdzogs sho / Ie 'u
bzhi bcu dgu pa. The VyiisaparipTccha is the 4ih Ie 'u of the Ratnakiita
(neither the 48
nor the 49
le'u) in the Berlin manuscript Kanjur as well
as in the A. D. 1692 edition, both of which omit two le'u out of the
regular49Ie'u. Compo above pages 3 and 18.
Note 26.
Beckh (Verzeichnis, page VI) regards the Berlin manuscript Kanjur as a
copy of the Derge xylograph, and Pelliot (Journal Asiatique, Iuillet-Aout
1914, page 115) says: Si on se rappelle en outre que cet exemplaire de
Berlin a ete acquis a Pekin, il apparaitra comme vraisemblable, malgre sa
division en 108 volumes qui est celIe de l'edition du Derge, qu'il derive
en realite, non pas de l'edition du Derge, mais d'une recension apparentee
aux recensions pekinoises et que je suis malheureusement hors d'etat de
The red Paris Kanjur quoted by Mile Lalou in the Journal Asiatique
contains the two parts of the Ratnakiita, which are missing in the A. D.
bm. It may just be noted here that of course PELLIOT is correct; the real origins of
the Berlin manuscript Kanjur were pointed out also in 1914 by Berthold LAUFER
in his review of Beckh's Verzeichni