The List of English TRIPIṬAKA Publications

First Series of BDK English Tripiṭaka

We at BDK (the Buddhist Promoting Foundation) have been engaged in the project to complete an English translation of the Taishō Tripiṭaka, the Chinese Buddhist Canon. In a sense, translation is an interpretative work, and, therefore, it becomes a difficult task for the translator(s) to replicate the original meaning in the translation. Nonetheless, we aspire to provide readable and reliable translation of Buddhist texts, which we believe is one of our missionary activities for disseminating the Buddhist teachings throughout the world. In our English Translation Project of the Chinese Buddhist Canon in which there are still many texts to be explored, we intend to do our best to avoid personal preference, dogmatism, and prejudice. It is our hope that the results of our project will contribute to an exposition of the pacifist thought immanent in Buddhism and a deepening of mutual understanding between Eastern and Western cultures.

It goes without saying that the task of translating and publishing the Tripiṭaka in English within a short span of time is no easy matter. Therefore, we selected 139 Buddhist texts composed in India, China, and Japan to form the First Series.

The purpose of the present page is to provide a brief explanatory comment on the contents of the 139 selected texts in order to facilitate the reader's appreciation for just why these texts were selected for the First Series

*Entries include the title in Chinese, translator/author/editor, the Taisho Tripitaka text number, the original or popular title in Sanskrit or Pali, and the English title (Volume title, if available).
*The Chinese title is indicated in both traditional and modified character(s).
*The original Sanskrit title is unknown where a question mark ( ? ) appears in the title space.
*Where a title appears in English, this indicates that the text has been published. Where a title appears in parentheses, this indicates that the text is a part of a multiple-text volume. The BDK English Tripitaka volumes are available for purchase. Please see the Numata Center for Buddhist Translation & Research website for further information and details.
*As for the linked English titles (light beige), you can download the pdf data from Numata Center for Buddhist Translation & Research website.


INDIAN WORKS

長阿含経/長阿含經 (Jō-a-gon-gyō)

Translated by Buddhayaśas 佛陀耶舎 and Zhu-fo-nien 竺佛念 (Jpn.: Jiku Butsunen)
(Taishō No. 1)
Ch.: Chang-a-han-jing
Skt.: Dīrghāgama
Eng. The Canonical Book Of The Buddha's Lengthy Discourses Volume Ⅰ
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 49 “THE CANONICAL BOOK OF THE BUDDHA'S LENGTHY DISCOURSES Volume Ⅰ”)
This is one of the oldest Buddhist scriptures, and contains a large number of teachings considered to have been expounded by Śākyamuni himself. Owing to the fact that it contains the comparatively longer sūtras among the old scriptures, it is known as Jō-a-gon-gyō, i.e. “The Longer Āgama Sūtra.”
In addition to this Jō-a-gon-gyō, the Chinese Buddhist Canon contains the Chū-a-gon-gyō (No.2), Zō-ichi-a-gon-gyō (Ch.: Zeng-yi-a-han-jing; Skt.: Ekottarikāgama; Taishō No.125) and Zō-a-gon-gyō (Ch.: Za-a-han-jing; Skt.: Saṃyuktāgama; Taishō No.99), and these four are known collectively as the “Four Āgamas.” On the other hand, the Pāli scriptures which have been transmitted in countries of the Theravāda tradition are divided into five groups, i.e. Dīgha-nikāya, Majjhima-nikāya, Saṃyutta-nikāya, Aṅguttara-nikāya and Khuddaka-nikāya.
The 22 fascicles of the Jō-a-gon-gyō contain 30 sūtras, which on the basis of their contents can be divided into four parts. The first part contains 4 sūtras (Fascicles 1-5), which deal with the exploits of the Buddha, beginning with the Seven Buddhas of the Past. The second part contains 15 sūtras (Fascicles 6-12), dealing with Buddhist practice and matters of doctrine. The third part contains 10 sutras (Fascicles 13-17), which present and criticize various teachings found in the non-Buddhist philosophies and religions prevalent at the time and known collectively as the ‘Sixty-two Views.’ The fourth and last part differs completely from the previous three parts and contains only one sūtra (Fascicles 18-22), called the Sei-ki-kyō (Ch.: Shi-ji-jing), which describes in detail the origins and conditions of the various worlds, including the world of men, through which people transmigrate during the cycle of birth and death.

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中阿含経/中阿含經 (Chū-a-gon-gyō)

Translated by Gautama Saṃghadeva 瞿曇僧伽提婆
(Taishō No.26)
Ch.: Zhong-a-han-jing
Skt.: Madhyamāgama
Eng. The Madhyama Āgama Volume Ⅰ
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 45 “THE MADHYAMA ĀGAMA Volume Ⅰ”)
This is one of the earliest Buddhist scriptures, corresponding to the Pāli Majjhima-nikāya of the Theravāda tradition, and consisting of 222 sūtras in the Chinese version. Since the sūtras are of medium length, the whole is known as Chū-a-gon-gyō, i.e. “The Medium Āgama Sūtra.” But although the 152 sūtras contained in the Pāli recension are in fact almost all of medium length, the Chinese version contains sūtras of various lengths, ranging from extremely short ones to rather long ones.
The contents are very varied, dealing with among other subjects the words and deeds of Śākyamuni and his disciples, the basic doctrinal tenets of early Buddhism such as the Four Truths and the Twelve-Linked Chain of Dependent Origination, and also various allegories. The whole is divided into 18 groups of sūtras, known as 18 pin or ‘chapters.’
The Chinese Buddhist Canon contains in addition to this Chū-a-gon-gyō, the Jō-a-gon-gyō (No.1), Zō-ichi-a-gon-gyō (Ch.: Zeng-yi-a-han-jing; Skt.: Ekottarāgama; Taishō No.125) and Zō-a-gon-gyō (Ch.: Za-a-han-jing; Skt.: Saṃyuktāgama; Taishō No. 99), known collectively as the “Four Āgamas.” On the other hand, the Pāli scriptures contain apart from the Majjhima-nikāya, the Dīgha-nikāya, Saṃyutta-nikāya, Aṅguttara-nikāya and Khuddaka-nikāya, making in all five groups of sūtras. The Four Āgamas of the Chinese version and the Nikāyas of the Pāli tradition do not necessarily coincide in contents and there are in fact considerable discrepancies between the two.

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大乗本生心地観経/大乘本生心地觀經 (Dai-jō-hon-jō-shin-ji-kan-gyō)

Translated by Prajñā 般若
(Taishō No. 159)
Ch.: Da-cheng-ben-sheng-xin-di-guan-jing
This sūtra, also known by its abbreviated title of Hon-jō-shin-ji-kan-gyō or Shin-ji-kan-gyō, deals mainly with how to practice the Buddhist way and attain enlightenment.
For this purpose it is stated that one must renounce the world, becoming a monk, and sitting in a quiet place, one should extinguish the flames of all passions from within one’s heart, this latter being the ultimate source of all things. Xin-di or ‘heart-ground’ is a metaphorical term comparing man’s heart, which is the source of all states of purity and impurity, to the earth, which gives birth to all living creatures.
This sūtra consists in all of 13 chapters, describing in the main the practice and discipline of the monk. However, Chapter 2, called ‘Chapter on Requital of Moral Obligations,’ discusses obligations to one’s parents, one’s fellow sentient beings, the king and the Three Treasures (Buddha, Dharma, and Saṃgha), and for this reason this sūtra has frequently been made use of in Japan.

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仏所行讃/佛所行讃 (Bus-sho-gyō-san)

Translated by Tan-wu-chen 曇無讖 (Jpn.: Donmusen)
(Taishō No.192)
Ch.: Fo-suo-xing-zan
Skt.: Buddhacarita
Eng.: Buddhacarita in Praise of Buddha’s Acts
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 41 “BUDDHACARITA IN PRAISE OF BUDDHA'S ACTS”)
This work is a biography of Śākyamuni written by Aśvaghoṣa, the great Buddhist poet of the first century A.D. (v. No. 93). Whereas the extant Sanskrit text begins with Śākyamuni’s birth and, describing his youth and mental anguishes, ends with his defeat of māra, the Chinese version deals with the rest of his life as well, thus forming a complete biography. This latter half is not, however, an addition which was appended to the text in China, but has simply been lost from the original Sanskrit.
This biography is a representative work of Buddhist literature, but the Chinese version, although it has been translated in a poetic style, is not necessarily a success as a literary work.

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雑宝蔵経/雜寶藏經 (Zō-hō-zō-kyō)

Translated by Kiṃkārya 吉迦夜 and Tan-yao 曇曜 (Jpn.: Donyō)
(Taishō No. 203)
Ch.: Za-bao-cang-jing
Eng.: The Storehouse of Sundry Valuables
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 6 “THE STOREHOUSE OF SUNDRY VALUABLES”)
This sūtra is a collection of in all 121 stories covering a time-span starting from the time of Śākyamuni and his disciples and ending with King Kaniṣka of the second century A.D. Among the stories included, that relating how the monk Nāgasena caused King Milinda to embrace the Buddhist faith (Fascicle 9), and that describing King Kaniṣka’s intimate relationship with Aśvaghoṣa (Fascicle 7) are especially famous. There are in addition to these a large number of other tales also thought to be based on historical facts, but from internal evidence, such as for example the appearance of King Kaniṣka, it is clear that this work was compiled after the second century A.D.

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法句譬喩経/法句譬喩經 (Hok-ku-hi-yu-kyō)

Translated by Fa-ju 法炬 (Jpn.: Hōko) and Fa-li 法立 (Jpn.: Hōryū)
(Taishō No. 211)
Ch.: Fa-ju-pi-yu-jing
Eng.: The Scriptural Text: Verses of the Doctrine, with Parables
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 17 “THE SCRIPTURAL TEXT: VERSES OF THE DOCTRINE, WITH PARABLES”)
This sūtra is based upon the Chinese translation of the Dhammapada, of which approximately two thirds of the verses have been selected for commentary. At the start of each chapter a number of verses are quoted, followed by tales relating the events surrounding the origin of each verse.
The Pāli version of the Dhammapada contains in all 423 verses, and there are in addition a number of commentaries (aṭṭhakathā) recording the tales and fables surrounding each verse. In the case of the Chinese version, 250 verses have been added to the original 500 verses, making a total of 750 verses, two thirds of which are dealt with in the present work.

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小品般若波羅蜜経/小品般若波羅蜜經 (Shō-bon-han-nya-ha-ra-mitsu-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 227)
Ch.: Xiao-pin-ban-ruo-bo-luo-mi-jing
Skt.: Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra
This sūtra belongs to the group of sūtras known as the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras, and is known as the “Smaller Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra” in contrast to the so-called “Larger Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra” (Skt.: Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra) of 27 fascicles, also translated by Kumārajīva.
Due to the overshadowing influence of the Mahāprajñā-pāramitā-sūtra of 600 fascicles translated by Xuan-zhuang (Jpn.: Genjō) and the above-mentioned “Larger Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra,” research on this sūtra has been largely neglected, despite the fact that it is marked by an unadulterated presentation of the concept of ‘emptiness’ (Skt.: śūnyatā), the main theme of the Prajñāpāramitā literature.
Its contents coincide with part of the Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra, and there are in fact a number of other Chinese translations of this work, including the Dō-gyō-han-nya-kyō (Ch.: Dao-xing-ban-ruo-jing; Taishō No. 224), Dai-myō-do-kyō (Ch.: Da-ming-du-jing; Taishō No. 225), Ma-ka-han-nya-shō-kyō (Ch.: Ma-he-ban-ruo-chao-jing; Taishō No. 226) and Butsu-mo-shus-shō-san-hō-zō-han-nya-ha-ra-mit-ta-kyō (Ch.: Fo-mu-chu-sheng-san-fa-tsang-ban-ruo-bo-luo-mi-duo-jing; Taishō No. 228).

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金剛般若波羅蜜経/金剛般若波羅蜜經 (Kon-gō-han-nya-ha-ra-mitsu-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 235)
Ch.: Jin-gang-ban-ruo-bo-luo-mi-jing
Skt.: Vajracchedikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra
Next to the “Heart Sūtra” (No. 11), this is the most widely read sūtra of the Parjñāpāramitā literature, and has been especially highly valued among Chan sects.
This sūtra, known also by its abbreviated title of Kon-gō-kyō or “Diamond Sūtra,” deals in detail with the concept that everything existing in this world has without exception no substance and thus no ‘self.’ It has been often explained that the word jin-gang (Skt.: vajra) appearing in the title, which can either mean ‘diamond’ or refer to a particular type of weapon, is a figurative reference to anything solid and durable, and is therefore used in the meaning of ‘supreme’ or ‘victorious.’ It should be added that ban-ruo-bo-luo-mi (Skt.: prajñāpāramitā) refers to the perfect wisdom of a buddha.

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大楽金剛不空真実三麼耶経/大樂金剛不空眞實三麼耶經 (Dai-raku-kon-gō-fu-kū-shin-jitsu-san-ma-ya-kyō)

Translated by Amoghavajra 不空
(Taishō No. 243)
Ch.: Da-luo-jin-gang-bu-kong-zhen-shi-san-mo-ye-jing
Skt.: Adhyardhaśatikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra
Eng. The Sutra of the Vow of Fulfilling the Great Perpetual Enjoyment and Benefiting All Sentient Beings Without Exception
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 48 “ESOTERIC TEXTS”)
This sūtra is generally known by its abbreviated title of Ri-shu-kyō (Ch.: Li-qu-jing) or Han-nya-ri-shu-kyō (Ch.: Ban-ruo-li-qu-jing), and is held in high esteem by the Shingon School in Japan, where it is regularly recited, as the sūtra expounding the most profound teachings of Esoteric Buddhism.
The work as a whole is divided into 17 chapters, in the course of which Mahāvairocana, the dharmakāya of Esoteric Buddhism, discourses to Vajrasattva upon how to realize in everyday life the quintessence of Esoteric Buddhism and its ultimate goal of attaining Buddhahood in this life.

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仁王般若波羅蜜経/佛說仁王般若波羅蜜經 (Nin-nō-han-nya-ha-ra-mitsu-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 245)
Ch.: Ren-wang-ban-ruo-bo-luo-mi-jing
Skt.: Kāruṇikārājā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra ?
This sūtra describes how the Buddha taught the kings of 16 countries that the most important factor in maintaining the security and welfare of a country is the practice of prajñāpāramitā, i.e. the Buddha’s wisdom. Owing to its contents, this sūtra has been held in especially high regard in Japan as a ‘Sūtra for Protecting the Country.’ Special services, called Ninnō-e, for the purpose of reciting this sūtra have been performed ever since A.D. 660. Together with the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra (No. 12) and Suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra (No. 33), it is included among the so-called ‘Three Sūtras for Protecting the Country.’
It states, for example, that if this sūtra be recited at times of national upheaval, natural disaster, foreign invasion, etc., calamities may be averted, crops will ripen and the people prosper. Therefore, dealing as it does with very practical matters, frequent use was made of this sūtra by the Imperial House and the Shogunate in Japan.

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般若波羅蜜多心経/般若波羅蜜多心經 (Han-nya-ha-ra-mit-ta-shin-gyō)

Translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 251)
Ch.: Ban-ruo-bo-lo-mi-duo-xing-jing
Skt.: Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya-sūtra
This sūtra, the so-called “Heart Sūtra” and better known in Japan by its abbreviated title of Han-nya-shin-gyō, consists of a mere 262 characters in its Chinese translation, yet has managed to condense the contents of the vast Mahāprajñāpāramitā-sūtra and summarize the essentials of the concept of ‘emptiness’ in a very concise form. 'Heart' here means ‘the most important part,’ and refers to the essence of Prajñāpāramitā thought.
Owing to the high quality of Xuan-zhuang’s Chinese translation, it has long been used in Japan as a sūtra for recitation. In addition, it is recognized as an authoritative text by the majority of Buddhist schools in Japan, and so is recited at joint services. It is also the sūtra most popularly used when copying scriptures as a religious discipline.
Although its contents are of great profundity, it contains a large number of basic terms central to Buddhist doctrine, and is thus also suitable as an introduction to Buddhism.

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妙法蓮華経/妙法蓮華經 (Myō-hō-ren-ge-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 262)
Ch.: Miao-fa-lian-hua-jing
Skt.: Saddharmapuṇḍarīka
Eng.: The Lotus Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 3 “THE LOTUS SUTRA”)
The “Lotus Sūtra,” as it is generally known in the West, is one of the most important of all the Mahāyāna sūtras, and especially in Japan, where it is popularly known as the Ho-ke-kyō, it has been held in high regard ever since Prince Shōtoku included a commentary on it (No. 108) in his set of commentaries on three Mahāyāna sūtras (San-gyō-gi-sho).
It is a work of great literary merit, including as it does many sections of verse and various parables, but at the same time it has earned a lasting place in the history of Buddhism owing to the superior quality of its philosophical content. The concept of ‘One Vehicle’ especially, which permeates the whole work, has had immeasurable influence upon Japanese Buddhism.
It is divided into 28 chapters, of which Chapter 16, ‘The Life Span of the Tathāgata’ (Skt.: Tathāgatāyuṣpramāṇa-parivarta XV), is especially important for its eulogy of Śākyamuni as the embodiment of eternal life and as having attained enlightenment in the inconceivably remote past.
Among the numerous parables those of the three carts and the burning house, the wealthy man and his poor son, the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees, and the phantom city and the treasure land are especially famous. In addition Chapter 25, ‘The Universal Gate of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara’ (Skt.: Samantamukha-parivarta XXIV), which describes the blessings of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, was circulated in China and Japan as an independent sūtra called Kannon-gyō and is still recited today.
It is also a well-known fact that the chant, or daimoku, of the Nichiren School of Japan and related sects consists of the invocation na-mu added to the Japanese title of this sūtra, resulting in Na-mu-myō-hō-ren-ge-kyō.

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無量義経/無量義經 (Mu-ryō-gi-kyō)

Translated by Dharmāgatayaśas 曇摩伽陀耶舎
(Taishō No. 276)
Ch.: Wu-liang-yi-jing
Eng. The Infinite Meanings Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 44 “TIANTAI LOTUS TEXTS”)
This “Sūtra of Infinite Meaning” forms part of the so-called “Threefold Lotus Sūtra” and was composed as an introduction to the “Lotus Sūtra” itself (No. 12), with its contents based upon the essence of the latter.
The term ‘Infinite Meaning’ in the title derives from the idea that since man’s defiling elements are infinite in number, the number of teachings to be taught must also be infinite, resulting in the fact that the meanings of those teachings also become infinite.

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観普賢菩薩行法経/佛說觀普賢菩薩行法經 (Kan-fu-gen-bo-satsu-gyō-bō-kyō)

Translated by Dharmamitra 曇無蜜多
(Taishō No. 277)
Ch.: Guan-pu-xian-pu-sa-xing-fa-jing
Eng. The Sutra Expounded by The Buddha on Practice of The Way Through Contemplation of the Bodhisattva All-embracing Goodness
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 44 “TIANTAI LOTUS TEXTS”)
This “Sūtra of Meditation on the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra” forms the last part of the “Threefold Lotus Sūtra,” and taking up from where the last chapter of the “Lotus Sūtra” (‘The Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra’; Skt.: Samantabhadrotsāhana-parivarta XXVI) ends, it is regarded as the conclusion to the “Lotus Sūtra” (No. 12).
It describes how, three months before passing away, Śākyamuni exhorted his disciples assembled in the Mahāvana retreat near Vaiśālī to meditate upon how the bodhisattva Samantabhadra practices and to repent of the sins committed by the six sensory organs.

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大方広仏華厳経/大方廣佛華嚴經 (Dai-hō-kō-butsu-ke-gon-gyō)

Translated by Śikṣānanda 實叉難陀
(Taishō No. 279)
Ch.: Da-fang-guang-fo-hua-yan-jing
Skt.: Avataṃsaka-sūtra
This sūtra is said to record the first teaching expounded by Śākyamuni after his enlightenment under the bodhi tree.
Asserting that the whole universe be an emanation of the Buddha Vairocana, it goes on to develop a rather involved theory of dependent origination. It is stated that all things can be contained in a single thing, leading to a world view based upon the idea of the mutual identity and mutual penetration of all things.
Apart from this version of 80 fascicles, there is a older translation of 60 fascicles and a 40-fascicle version consisting of the single chapter entitled ‘Entry into the Dharma-World’ (Skt.: Gaṇḍavyūha).
The older translation of this sūtra is regarded as the basic text of the Kegon School in Japan, of which Tōdai-ji Temple is the head temple. It is also interesting to note that the story of the young Sudhana visiting a total of 53 teachers, related in the above-mentioned Gaṇḍavyūha, led to the establishment of 53 stages along the Tōkaidō Highway from Tōkyō to Kyōto in Japan.

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勝鬘師子吼一乗大方便方広経/勝鬘師子吼一乘大方便方廣經 (Shō-man-shi-shi-ku-ichi-jō-dai-hō-ben-hō-kō-kyō)

Translated by Guṇabhadra 求那跋陀羅
(Taishō No. 353)
Ch: Sheng-man-shih-zi-hou-yi-cheng-da-fang-bian-fang-guang-jing
Skt.: Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanāda-sūtra
Eng.: The Sutra of Queen Śrīmālā of the Lion’s Roar
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 30 “THE SUTRA OF QUEEN SRIMALA OF THE LION'S ROAR/ THE VIMALAKIRTI SUTRA”)
This sūtra is generally known by its abbreviated title of Śrīmālā-sūtra, and as is suggested by the title, it was expounded by Śrīmālā, the daughter of King Prasenajit of Śrāvastī, under the inspiration of Śākyamuni. The most important subjects dealt with are the theory of the ‘One True Vehicle’ and the dharmakāya. The fact that the leading role is played by a woman distinguishes this work from other sūtras, and on the basis of the guarantee given by Śākyamuni it is used as textual authority to support the view that a woman too can become a buddha.
In Japan this sūtra has been regarded as important ever since Prince Shōtoku discoursed on it for the benefit of Empress Suiko, the first Empress in Japanese history, and further wrote a commentary on it (No. 106), included in his “Commentaries on Three Sūtras” (San-gyō-gi-sho).

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無量寿経/佛說無量壽經 (Mu-ryō-ju-kyō)

Translated by Saṃghavarman 康僧鎧
(Taishō No. 360)
Ch.: Wu-liang-shou-jing
Skt.: Sukhāvatīvyūha
Eng.: The Larger Sutra on Amitāyus
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 8 “THE THREE PURE LAND SUTRAS”)
This “Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha” is one of the three basic sūtras of the Pure Land Faith, and is also known as Dai-mu-ryō-ju-kyō (Ch.: Da-wu-liang-shou-jing), Dai-kyō (Ch.: Da-jing) and Sō-kan-gyō (Ch.: Shuang-juan-jing). It relates how a certain mendicant monk by the name of Dharmākara, when practicing under the tutelage of the Tathāgata Lokeśvararāja, made 48 vows to save all suffering people; to fulfil these vows he created a paradise in the west called Sukhāvatī, and he himself thus became the Buddha Amitāyus. The sūtra states, furtherrnore, that if anyone believing in these 48 vows should chant the name of Amitāyus, he will be born in the paradise of Sukhāvatī and there become a buddha.
This sūtra being the longest of the three basic sūtras of the Pure Land Faith, it is common practice in the various Pure Land sects to use extracts from it for the purpose of recitation. Among such pieces there are the San-butsu-ge, a poem in which Dharmākara extols his teacher Lokeśvararāja, and the Jū-sei-ge, a verse-summary of the 48 vows in the form of 3 vows.

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観無量寿仏経/佛說觀無量壽佛經 (Kan-mu-ryō-ju-butsu-kyō)

Translated by Kālayaśas 畺良耶舎
(Taishō No. 365)
Ch.: Guan-wu-liang-shou-fo-jing
Skt.: Amitāyurdhyāna-sūtra?
Eng.: The Sutra on Contemplation of Amitāyus
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 8 “THE THREE PURE LAND SUTRAS”)
This “Sūtra on the Meditation of Amitāyus,” also known by its abbreviated title of Kan-gyō, is one of the three basic sūtras of the Pure Land Faith, and in it is related one of the most well-known of all Buddhist tales, that of King Ajātaśatru and his mother Vaidehī.
One day Vaidehī, who was in a state of continual anguish owing to the wicked practices of her son, turned for help in the direction of Śākyamuni, whereupon the latter came to where she was, and after having shown her countless paradises in all directions, had her choose one. She chose the Sukhāvatī Paradise of Amitāyus in the west, and so Śākyamuni gave a detailed description of this paradise by means of 16 types of visualization. It should be mentioned that Wu-liang-shou-fo (Skt.: Amitāyus), or ‘Buddha of Immeasurable Life,’ in the title of this sūtra is a translation of the Chinese transliteration A-mi-tuo (Jpn.: Amida), which is also translated as Wu-liang-guang-fo (Jpn.: Muryōkō-butsu, Skt.: Amitā-bha) or ‘Buddha of Immeasurable Light.’

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阿弥陀経/佛說阿彌陀經 (A-mi-da-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 366)
Ch.: A-mi-tuo-jing
Skt.: Sukhāvatīvyūha
Eng.: The Smaller Sutra on Amitāyus
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 8 “THE THREE PURE LAND SUTRAS”)
This is the shortest of the three basic sūtras of the Pure Land Faith, thus being called the “Smaller Sukhāvatī vyūha,” and is even today frequently recited at religious services. It starts by giving a description of the splendours of Sukhāvatī, the western paradise of Amitāyus, and then goes on to explain what must be done in order to be born there. The Buddhas of the six directions (east, west, north, south, above and below) extol the virtues of the Buddha Amitāyus, and in conclusion it is recommended that one should generate the desire to be born in this paradise by believing in and chanting the name of Amitāyus.

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大般涅槃経/大般涅槃經 (Dai-hatsu-ne-han-gyō)

Translated by Dharmakṣem 曇無讖
Taishō No. 374
Ch.: Da-ban-nie-pan-jing
Skt.: Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra
Eng. The Nirvana Sutra Volume Ⅰ
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 46 “THE NIRVANA SUTRA Volume Ⅰ”)
This sūtra gains its title from the fact that it deals with the teachings given by Śākyamuni shortly before his death (mahāparinirvāṇa).
The original meaning of nirvāṇa is ‘extinguishing the flames of passion and attaining the state of enlightenment.’ Since Śākyamuni attained enlightenment at the age of 35, he did in fact already enter nirvāṇa at this time.
But because it was considered impossible to completely extinguish the passions while retaining a physical body, Śākyamuni’s death came to be called mahāparinirvāṇa, i.e. ‘the state of great serenity in which the flames of passion have been completely extinguished,’ and in later times the phrase ‘to enter nirvāṇa’ by itself came to mean ‘to die.’
In any case, this sūtra is important both because it gives the teachings expounded by Śākyamuni immediately before his death and also because, containing as it does episodes relating to events before and after his death, it is valuable as historical source-material.

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仏垂般涅槃略説教誡経/佛垂般涅槃略說敎誡經 (Bus-sui-hatsu-ne-han-ryaku-setsu-kyō-kai-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 389)
Ch: Fo-chui-ban-nie-pan-lüe-shuo-jiao-jie-jing
Eng.: The Bequeathed Teaching Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 31 “APOCRYPHAL SCRIPTURES”)
This sūtra, generally known as the Yui-kyō-gyō (Ch.: Yi-jiao-jing), contains the last teachings of Śākyamuni, delivered to the disciples assembled around his deathbed between two sal trees. In this last sermon Śākyamuni urges his disciples to strive for enlightenment through the practice of the three disciplines (precepts, meditation and wisdom), and after having expounded other concepts basic to Buddhist thought, he ends by saying that this is his last teaching.
The sūtra has gained considerable popularity in Japan since it is said to record the Buddha’s last teachings, and it is held in especially high regard in the Zen sects.

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地蔵菩薩本願経/地藏菩薩本願經 (Ji-zō-bo-satsu-hon-gan-gyō)

Translated by Śikṣānanda 實叉難陀
(Taishō No. 412)
Ch.: Di-cang-pu-sa-ben-yuan-jing
Skt.: Kṣitigarbhapraṇidhāna-sūtra?
The period following Śākyamuni’s death is known as the ‘Buddha-less Era,’ during which there are no buddhas until the appearance of the bodhisattva Maitreya, who is to become the next Buddha. It is during this ‘Buddha-less Era’ that the bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha appears in order to save sentient beings, and this sūtra describes the vow made to that effect by him in a previous life and the benefits accruing from that vow. At the same time it emphasizes the miraculous powers of the sūtra itself, stating that by reciting or hearing even a single phrase or verse of this sūtra all sins be expiated.

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般舟三昧経/般舟三昧經 (Han-ju-zan-mai-kyō)

Translated by Lokakṣema 支婁迦讖
(Taishō No. 418)
Ch.: Ban-zhou-san-mei-jing
Skt.: Pratyutpannabuddhasaṃmukhāvasthita-samādhi-sūtra
Eng.: The Pratyutpanna Samādhi Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 13 “THE PRATYUTPANNA SAMADHI SUTRA/ THE SURANGAMA SAMADHI SUTRA”)
The pratyutpannabuddhasaṃmukhāvasthita-samādhi which gives its name to the title of this sūtra refers to the spiritual state wherein one is able to see by mental concentration buddhas appearing before one’s very eyes, and this sūtra describes the techniques involved in this meditation, giving Amitāyus who resides in the western paradise of Sukhāvatī as an example of a buddha who might appear in such a manner.
This is one of the oldest Mahāyāna sūtras, and the earliest sūtra to contain a reference to Amitāyus. It can thus be regarded as a forerunner of the Pure Land Sūtras. In Japan the meditation described in this sūtra has become the basis of an ambulatory meditation practice called jō-gyō-zanmai.

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薬師琉璃光如来本願功徳経/藥師琉璃光如來本願功德經 (Yaku-shi-ru-ri-kō-nyo-rai-hon-gan-ku-doku-kyō)

Translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 450)
Ch.: Yao-shi-liu-li-guang-ru-lai-ben-yuan-gong-de-jing
Skt.: Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabhāsapūrvapraṇidhānaviśeṣavistara
This sūtra, with its emphasis upon the merits of the Healing Buddha Bhaiṣajyaguru, is mainly devoted to exhorting people to take faith in this Buddha, as a result of which they will be born in his eastern paradise of Pure Lapiz Lazuli; but at the same time it does not deny rebirth in Sukhāvatī, the western paradise of Amitāyus, and other heavenly realms. Thus this sūtra may be characterized as a work which brought together existing ideas on the attainment of worldly benefits and rebirth in paradisiacal realms.
Prior to his enlightenment, the Healing Buddha is said to have made 12 vows wherein he promises to cure sentient beings of all sicknesses and all physical handicaps, and thereby lead them to enlightenment. As a result this Buddha has enjoyed an enduring popularity in Japan ever since the introduction of and Buddhism, the basis for this faith is to be found in this sūtra.

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弥勒下生成仏経/佛說彌勒下生成佛經 (Mi-roku-ge-shō-jō-butsu-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 454)
Ch.: Mi-le-xia-sheng-cheng-fo-jing
Skt.: Maitreyavyākaraṇa?
Eng. The Sutra That Expounds The Descent Of Maitreya Buddha and His Enlightenment
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 50 “THE SUTRA THAT EXPOUNDS THE DESCENT OF MAITREYA BUDDHA AND HIS ENLIGHTENMENT/ THE SUTRA OF MAÑJUŚRĪ'S QUESTIONS”)
The death of Śākyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, is said to be followed by a so-called ‘Buddha-less Era,’ after which it is believed that Maitreya, at present a bodhisattva expounding the teachings in the Tuṣita Heaven, will become the next Buddha. This sūtra describes in detail how Maitreya will in 5,670 million years reappear in this world (xia-sheng) and become a buddha (cheng-fo) under the ‘dragon-flower’ tree (Skt.: nāgakeśara). It is one of the group of sūtras known as the ‘Six Maitreya Sūtras.’

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文殊師利問経/文殊師利問經 (Mon-ju-shi-ri-mon-gyō)

Translated by Saṃghabhara 僧伽婆羅
(Taishō No. 468)
Ch.: Wen-shu-shi-li-wen-jing
Skt.: Mañjuśrīparipṛcchā?
Eng. The Sutra Of Mañjuśrī's Questions
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 50 “THE SUTRA THAT EXPOUNDS THE DESCENT OF MAITREYA BUDDHA AND HIS ENLIGHTENMENT/ THE SUTRA OF MAÑJUŚRĪ'S QUESTIONS”)
This “Questions of Mañjuśrī” deals mainly with the precepts that a bodhisattva should observe, and takes the format of Śākyamuni’s replying to questions put by Mañjuśri. The greater part of the sūrta is thus devoted to a detailed exposition of the precepts to be observed by a bodhisattva, starting with the ten precepts. In addition it also explains the Buddhist significance of the 50 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, and describes how the branch of Buddhism came to be divided into 20 minor schools.
On the basis of its contents this sūtra is considered to be of rather late composition, dating from at least after such works as the Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra (No. 34), Mahā-parinirvāṇa-sūtra (No. 20) and Madhyamaka-kārikā (No. 52).

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維摩詰所説経/維摩詰所說經 (Yui-ma-kitsu-sho-setsu-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 475)
Ch.: Wei-mo-jie-suo-shuo-jing
Skt.: Vimalakīrtinirdeśa
Eng.: The Vimalakīrti Sūrta
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 30 “THE SUTRA OF QUEEN SRIMALA OF THE LION'S ROAR/ THE VIMALAKIRTI SUTRA”)
As implied by the title, the protagonist of this “Teaching of Vimalakīrti” is a layman by the name of Vimalakīrti, well-versed in the profundities of Mahāyāna Buddhism. He happens to fall ill, and the sūtra starts from the point where Śākyamuni, hearing of his illness, asks his disciples to go to visit him. However, since each of the disciples has in the past been got the better of by Vimalakīrti in some way or other, they all refuse to go; so in the end it is Mañjuśrī who agrees to visit him in their stead. As a result a discussion on the profound teachings of the Mahāyāna unfolds between Vimalakīrti and Mañjuśrī.
This sūtra is held in high regard in Japan, not least because Prince Shōtoku included a commentary on it (No. 107) in his “Commentaries on Three Sūtras” (San-gyō-gi-sho). But even disregarding this fact, it has considerable appeal due to its dramatic contents, and is an important key to an understanding of the profound thought of Mahāyāna Buddhism.

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月上女経/佛說月上女經 (Gatsu-jō-nyo-kyō)

Translated by Jñānagupta 闍那崛多
(Taishō No. 480)
Ch.: Yue-shang-nü-jing
Skt.: Candrottarādārikāparipṛcchā
This “Questions of Candrottarā” describes how Candrottarā, the daughter of a man of wealth by the name of Vimalakīrti, receives a guarantee of being able to become a buddha without fail in a future lifetime. After having performed various miracles, it is said that she will eventually turn into a male and, taking the vows of a mendicant monk, become a disciple of the Buddha.
The Vimalakīrti who appears in this sūtra is portrayed simply as an ordinary wealthy man, in contrast to the veritable embodiment of Mahāyāna thought of the same name appearing in the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa (No. 27).
Therefore it is considered that the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa was composed at a later date, having gained a hint from the present work.
This sūtra is also said to have provided the plot of the famous Japanese fairytale Taketori-monogatari (“Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”).

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坐禅三昧経/坐禪三昧經 (Za-zen-zan-mai-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 614)
Ch.: Zuo-chan-san-mei-jing
Eng.: The Sutra on the Concentration of Sitting Meditation
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 40 “THE SUTRA ON THE CONCENTRATION OF SITTING MEDITATION”)
This “Meditation Sūtra” presents a summary of the methods of spiritual training employed by a number of Indian practitioners. Before the introduction of this sūtra into China there had been some practice of Chan (Jpn.: Zen) in China, but it had all been based upon Hīnayāna methods. This sūtra, on the other hand, describes Mahāyāna methods as well as Hīnayāna methods, and so clarifies the relationship between the two. This led to the development of the practice of mental concentration called zhi-guan in the Tian-tai School and the birth of the Chinese schools of Chan. Thus one can say that this sūtra exerted considerable influence in later times.

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達摩多羅禅経/達摩多羅禪經 (Datsu-ma-ta-ra-zen-gyō)

Translated by Buddhabhadra 佛陀跋陀羅
(Taishō No. 618)
Ch.: Da-mo-duo-luo-chan-jing
Skt.: Yogācārabhūmi-sūtra?
This is a work composed by Dharmatrāta and Buddhasena, two monks who popularized the practice of Chan (Jpn.: Zen) meditation as a method of spiritual training in Central Asia at the start of the fifth century A.D., and the name of the former has been attached to the Chinese title. However, the actual contents of the sūtra are centered upon the teachings of Buddhasena on the Hīnayāna methods of training, and it is said that the teachings of Dharmatrāta based upon the Mahāyāna are missing. But since the instructions directed to practitioners are described in a very concrete manner, this work has long served as a popular and practical handbook, and owing to confusion of the name Dharmatrāta in the title with Bodhidharma, the founder of the Chan School in China, it has been held in high regard in Chan sects as an exposition of Bodhidharma’s teachings.

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月灯三昧経/月燈三昧經 (Gat-tō-zan-mai-kyō)

Translated by Narendrayaśas 那連提耶舎
(Taishō No. 639)
Ch.: Yue-dêng-san-mei-jing
Skt.: Samādhirāja-candrapradīpa-sūtra
This sūtra sets forth a dialogue between a youth by the name of Candragupta and the Buddha, in which the Buddha describes in reply to the former’s questions a method of practice for viewing everything as without distinction. The central theme underlying the whole sūtra is that by viewing all that exists as without substance similar to a dream or illusion, it is possible to attain enlightenment, which is the supreme virtue. The methods by which one can attain such a state are also described in detail.

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首楞厳三昧経/佛說首楞嚴三昧經 (Shu-ryō-gon-zan-mai-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 642)
Ch.: Shou-leng-yen-san-mei-jing
Skt. Suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra
Eng.: The Śūraṅgama Samādhi Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 13 “THE PRATYUTPANNA SAMADHI SUTRA/ THE SURANGAMA SAMADHI SUTRA”)
This sūtra, abbreviated as Śūraṅgama-sūtra, expounds the essentials of meditative practice. In reply to the question of the bodhisattva Dṛḍhamati, asking about the supreme samādhi for the attainment of enlightenment among the various methods of spiritual training, the Buddha replies that the śūraṅgama-samādhi (‘Samādhi of the Heroic March’) be the foremost among all methods of spiritual training, embracing within it all other methods of practice, and he then goes on to describe it in detail, explaining its powers and how to go about practicing it.
Viewed historically, the thought presented in this sūtra anticipates such works as the Avataṃsaka-sūtra (No.15), Vimalakīrtinirdeśa (No. 27) and Saddharmapuṇḍarīka (No. 12), and it is considered to have been composed around the start of the Christian Era.

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金光明最勝王経/金光明最勝王經 (Kon-kō-myō-sai-shō-ō-kyō)

Translated by Yi-jing 義浄 (Jpn.: Gijō)
(Taishō No. 665)
Ch.: Jin-guang-ming-zui-sheng-wang-jing
Skt.: Suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra
The principal theme of this “Sūtra of Golden Light” is that the recitation of this sūtra results in a country’s being protected by such deities as the Kings of the Four Quarters. Consequently this sūtra was held in high esteem in Japan in former times as one of the so-called ‘Three Sūtras for Protecting the Country,’ together with the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka (No. 12) and Nin-nō-kyō (No. 10). The construction of Shitennō-ji Temple, the performance of the service called Saishō-e, and the establishment of provincial temples called kokubunji throughout the country were all carried out on the basis of this sūtra. Therefore, it is valid to say that this work exerted considerable influence upon early Japanese Buddhism.

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大乗入楞伽経/大乘入楞伽經(Dai-jō-Nyū-ryō-ga-kyō)

Translated by Śiksānanda 實叉難陀
(Taishō No. 672)
Ch.: Da-sheng-Ru-leng-qie-jing
Skt.: Mahāyāna- Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra
This sūtra is a work representative of late Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism, combining as it does the philosophy centered upon the concept of tathāgatagarbha, which asserts that the mind of even the lowliest person contains the seeds of enlightenment, with the theory of eight consciousnesses, which divides the functions of the mind into eight aspects with the ālayavijñāna (‘store-consciousness’) as the eighth and basic consciousness. Its teachings are therefore of considerable importance.
However, owing to the fact that it does in part resemble a miscellaneous collection of ideas of various Buddhist schools flourishing at the time, its teachings may indeed appear of a composite nature. Yet it is possible to detect a consistent line of thought regarding the understanding of the term ‘non-discrimination’ underlying the whole work. This sūtra is also important in that it anticipates the standpoint presented in “The Awakening of Faith” (No. 68), and it has exerted considerable inftuence upon the thought of the Chan sects.

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解深密経/解深密經 (Ge-jin-mik-kyō)

Translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 676)
Ch.: Jie-shen-mi-jing
Skt.: Saṃdhinirmocana-sūtra
Eng.: The Scripture on the Explication of Underlying Meaning
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 19 “THE SCRIPTURE ON THE EXPLICATION OF UNDERLYING MEANING”)
The basic sūtra of the Fa-hsiang School, this sūtra expounds the thought of the Yogācāra or Mind-Only School (Vijñānavāda), stating that all phenomena are manifestations of the mind. It belongs to the middle period of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism and is considered to have been composed at the start of the fourth century A.D. It is divided into 8 chapters, and gives a detailed exposition of the philosophy of the Yogācāra School.
Judging from the fact that the greater part of this sūtra is quoted in the Yogācārabhūmi (No. 53), and that numerous citations from it are to be found in such works as the Mahāyānasam·graha (No. 57) and Jō-yui-shiki-ron (No. 54), it is clear that it exerted onsiderable influence in later times.

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盂蘭盆経/佛說盂蘭盆經 (U-ra-bon-gyō)

Translated by Dharmarakṣa 竺法護
(Taishō No. 685)
Ch.: Yu-lan-pen-jing
Skt.: Ullambana-sūtra?
Eng.: The Ullambana Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 31 “APOCRYPHAL SCRIPTURES”)
The Bon ceremony (Urabon-e) performed in Japan in memory of the dead is based upon the contents of this sūtra. It relates how Maudgalyāyana, one of Śākyamuni’s disciples, asked Śākyamuni how he might save his mother who had fallen into the realm of hungry spirits (Skt.: preta). Maudgalyāyana was instructed to make offerings of food and drink on the fifteenth day of the seventh month (the final day of the three-month retreat during the rainy season), and upon doing so his mother was relieved of her agony.
The word yu-lan-pen in the title is said to be a transliteration of the Sanskrit word ullambana, which means ‘hanging upside down,’ a metaphorical reference to the suffering undergone in the realm of hungry spirits. Judging from the fact that the Bon ceremony is still performed in Japan today, one can say that this sūtra has had considerable influence.

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四十二章経/四十二章經 (Shi-jū-ni-shō-kyō)

Translated by Kāśyapamātaṅga 迦葉摩騰 and Zhu-fa-lan 竺法蘭 (Jpn.: Jiku Hōran)
(Taishō No. 784)
Ch : Si-shi-er-zhang-jing
Eng.: The Sutra of Forty-two Sections
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 31 “APOCRYPHAL SCRIPTURES”)
This “Sūtra of Forty-Two Sections” is said to be the first Buddhist scripture brought to China, but some scholars maintain that it is an apocryphal work produced in China. As the title suggests, it explains important tenets of Buddhist doctrine in 42 sections, thus serving as it were as an introduction to Buddhism. Basic Buddhist concepts such as suffering, impermanence and nonself as well as items relating to Buddhist practice, such as compassion and almsgiving, are elucidated by means of most opposite similes.
Owing to the fact that it is written in very simple language, this sūtra was widely read in China, and there are as many as ten variant versions of the text.

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大方広円覚修多羅了義経/大方廣圓覺修多羅了義經 (Dai-hō-kō-en-gaku-shu-ta-ra-ryō-gi-kyō)

Translated by Buddhatrāta 佛陀多羅
(Taishō No. 842)
Ch.: Da-fang-guang-yuan-jue-xiu-duo-luo-liao-yi-jing
Eng.: The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 31 “APOCRYPHAL SCRIPTURES”)
This “Sūtra of Perfect Enlightenment” takes the format of a dialogue between the Buddha and 12 bodhisattvas, starting with Mañjuśrī, who each puts a question to the Buddha. The central theme is the concept of ‘perfect and immediate enlightenment’ (yuan-tun; Jpn.: endon), said to be the consummate teaching of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
Although this sūtra is said to be an apocryphal work compiled in China, it was held in high regard in Chan schools. However Dōgen, the founder of the Sōtō Sect in Japan, rejected it on the grounds that it differs in contents from other Mahāyāna sūtras.

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大毘盧遮那成仏神変加持経/大毘盧遮那成佛神變加持經 (Dai-bi-ru-sha-na-jō-butsu-jin-ben-ka-ji-kyō)

Translated by Śubhakarasiṃha 善無畏 and Yi-xing 一行 (Jpn.: Ichigyō)
(Taishō No. 848)
Ch.: Da-bi-lu-zhe-na-cheng-fo-shen-bian-jia-chi-jing
Skt.: Mahāvairocanābhisambodhivikurvitādhiṣṭhānavaipulyasūtrendrarāja-nāma-dharmaparyāya
Eng.: The Vairocanābhisaṃbodhi Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 34 “THE VAIROCANABHISAMBODHI SUTRA”)
One of the basic sūtras of Esoteric Buddhism, this sūtra is generally known as the Mahāvairocana-sūtra and is considered to have been composed in western India around the middle of the seventh century A.D.
It consists of 36 chapters, dealing with both the doctrinal aspects of Esoteric Buddhism and its practical side, describing as it does the procedure for various rituals. The Mahākaruṇāgarbhodbhava-maṇḍala (‘Maṇḍala Born from the Womb of Great Compassion’) is based upon this sūtra, and is so called because it represents pictonally the essence of a buddha, the spirit of which is compared to the compassion enveloping an embryo in a mother’s womb.

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金剛頂一切如来真実摂大乗現証大教王経/金剛頂一切如來眞實攝大乘現證大敎王經 (Kon-gō-chō-is-sai-nyo-rai-shin-jitsu-shō-dai-jō-gen-shō-dai-kyō-ō-kyō)

Translated by Amoghavajra 不空
(Taishō No. 865)
Ch.: Jin-gang-ding-yi-qie-ru-lai-zhen-shi-she-da-cheng-xian-zheng-da-jiao-wang-jing
Skt.: Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha-mahāyānābhisamaya-mahākalparāja
Eng.: The Adamantine Pinnacle Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 23 “TWO ESOTERIC SUTRAS”)
In China and Japan this sūtra is looked upon as a fundamental sūtra of Esoteric Buddhism together with the Mahāvairocana-sūtra (No. 39), and is generally known by its abbreviated title of Kon-gō-chō-kyō (Ch.: Jin-gang-ding-jing), meaning “Adamantine Pinnacle Sūtra.” This latter appellation is a figurative expression of the superiority of this sūtra, likened to the position of the diamond among precious stones. The rituals peculiar to Esoteric Buddhism for the purpose of attaining enlightenment are described in detail, and the Vajradhātumaṇḍala (‘Maṇḍala of the Adamantine World’) is also based upon this sūtra.

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蘇悉地羯囉経/蘇悉地羯囉經 (So-shitsu-ji-ka-ra-kyō)

Translated by Śubhakarasiṃha 輸波迦羅
(Taishō No. 893)
Ch.: Su-xi-di-jie-luo-jing
Skt.: Susiddhikaramahātantrasādhanopāyika-paṭala
Eng.: The Susiddhikara Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 23 “TWO ESOTERIC SUTRAS”)
This sūtra, also abbreviated as Susiddhikara-sūtra, describes the procedure for various rituals in Esoteric Buddhism. In Japan it is included in the groups of sūtras known as the ‘Three Esoteric Sūtras’ and ‘Five Esoteric Sūtras,’ and is regarded as one of the important texts of Esoteric Buddhism.
The Sanskrit term susiddhikara in the title, which has been transliterated as it is in the Chinese version, means ‘the complete fulfillment of all deeds,’ and refers to the efficacy of the rituals described in this sūtra; this term is therefore also sometimes translated as miao-cheng-jiu-zuo-ye (Jpn.: myō-jō-ju-sa-gō).

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摩登伽経/摩登伽經 (Ma-tō-ga-kyō)

Translated by Zhu-lü-yan 竺律炎 (Jpn.: Jiku Ritsuen) and Zhi-qian 支謙 (Jpn. : Shiken)
(Taishō No. 1300)
Ch.: Mo-deng-qie-jing
Skt.: Mātaṅgī-sūtra?
Eng. The Mātaṅga Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 48 “ESOTERIC TEXTS”)
This sūtra is centered upon the story of how a woman by the name of Mātaṅgī and belonging to the lowest of all castes, the Caṇḍāla, is converted to the Buddhist faith by Śākyamuni. In the course of the story, Śākyamuni dwells in detail upon the fact that the four castes are equal. Therefore, when one considers that the castesystem has prevailed throughout India’s history in all areas of society, this sūtra, with its assertion that all castes be equal within the sphere of Buddhism, assumes considerable significance.

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摩訶僧祇律 (Ma-ka-sō-gi-ritsu)

Translated by Buddhabhadra 佛陀跋陀羅 and Fa-xian 法顯 (Jpn.: Hokken)
(Taishō No. 1425)
Ch.: Mo-ho-seng-qi-lü
Skt.: Mahāsāṃghika-vinaya?
Approximately one hundred years after the death of Śākyamuni the Buddhist community was split into two schools owing to a controversy over the interpretation of the contents of the monastic code (Skt.: vinaya). The conservative side in this ‘Basic Schism’ was called the Theravāda and the progressive party the Mahāsāṃghika.
It is this latter which is referred to in the Sanskrit title of this work and which is found transliterated in the title of the Chinese version. This work, the title of which is sometimes abbreviated as Sō-gi-ritsu or known as Dai-shu-ritsu (Ch.: Da-zhong-lü; “Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya”), is thus a collection of the monastic rules transmitted in the Mahāsāṃghika tradition, and describes in detail the precepts to be observed by ordained monks (bhikṣu) and nuns (bhikṣuṇī).

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四分律 (Shi-bun-ritsu)

Translated by Buddhayaśas 佛陀耶舎 and Zhu-fo-nien 竺佛念 (Jpn.: Jiku Butsunen)
(Taishō No. 1428)
Ch.: Si-fen-lü
Skt.: Dharmaguptaka-vinaya?
In Buddhist practice the body of precepts which lays down the rules to be observed in everyday life is known as the Vinaya. In China it was this Shi-bun-ritsu (“Four-Part Vinaya”) that gained the widest following among all the works translated into Chinese relating to the Vinaya, and it is known as the “Four-Part Vinaya” because its contents are divided into four parts.
Although the number of rules to be observed varies with each work, this “FourPart Vinaya” gives 250 precepts for monks and 348 precepts for nuns. Until the idea of the ‘Mahāyāna Precepts,’ first advocated by Saichō in the Japanese Heian Period, eventually took root in Japan, it was these precepts which were regarded as the rules to be observed by ordained monks and nuns.

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善見律毘婆沙 (Zen-ken-ritsu-bi-ba-sha)

Translated by Saṃghabhadra 僧伽跋陀羅
(Taishō No. 1462)
Ch.: Shan-jian-lü-pi-po-sha
Pāli: Samantapāsādikā
This work, also known by its abbreviated title of Zen-ken-ritsu or Zen-ken-ron (Ch.: Shan-jian-lun), is a commentary by Buddhaghosa on the monastic rules transmitted in the Theravāda tradition. Therefore it deals in the main with the monastic rules for monks and nuns in the Theravāda tradition, but in the initial section it also includes accounts of the first three councils for the compilation of the Buddhist Canon, and of the transmission of Buddhism to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) by Mahinda, the son of King Aśoka.

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梵網経/梵網經 (Bon-mō-kyō)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 1484)
Ch.: Fan-wang-jing
Skt.: Brahmajāla-sūtra?
This “Sūtra of Brahmā’s Net” sets forth the precepts to be followed by bodhisattvas in Mahāyāna Buddhism, and provided the foundation for Saichō’s establishment of the Tendai School in Japan. As far as monastic rules are concerned, Japanese Buddhism has since then been on the whole bound only by the 10 major and 48 minor precepts given in this sūtra. Taking this fact alone, it is obvious that this sūtra has exerted considerable influence upon the development of Buddhism in Japan. The ‘Mahāyāna Precepts’ described in this work and known as the ‘Precepts of Brahmā’s Net’ are characterized by there being no distinction made between the laity and monks, it being asserted that all followers of Buddhism should observe the same rules.
This sūtra has been highly valued in China and Japan as the leading work setting forth the precepts to be observed in Mahāyāna Buddhism.

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優婆塞戒経/優婆塞戒經 (U-ba-soku-kai-kyō)

Translated by Dharmakṣema 曇無讖
(Taishō No. 1488)
Ch.: You-po-sai-jie-jing
Skt.: Upāsakaśīla-sūtra?
Eng.: The Sutra on Upāsaka Precepts
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 4 “THE SUTRA ON UPASAKA PRECEPTS”)
This sūtra, taught to a Buddhist layman by the name of Sujāta, sets forth the moral code to be observed by lay followers of Buddhism (the word upāsaka in the title is Sanskrit for ‘layman’). Taking the name of the protaogonist, it is also known as the Sujāta-sūtra, and the moral code prescribed therein is the so-called ‘Mahāyāna Precepts,’ also known as the ‘Bodhisattva Precepts.’ Consequently it was in Mahāyānist China that it was especially valued.
This work is considered to be an augmentation and adaptation on Mahāyānist principles of the Sujāta-sūtra found in the Dīrghāgama (No. 1), Madhyamāgama (No. 2) and other works, and owing to the fact that it includes quotations from various Mahāyāna sūtras, it also serves as a valuable source of material for tracing the history of the development of the Buddhist Canon.

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妙法蓮華経憂波提舎/妙法蓮華經憂波提舍 (Myō-hō-ren-ge-kyō-u-pa-dai-sha)

Composed by Vasubandhu 婆藪槃豆; translated by Bodhiruci 菩提留支 , Tan-lin 曇林 (Jpn.: Donrin) et al.
(Taishō No. 1519)
Ch.: Miao-fa-lian-hua-jing-you-bo-ti-she
Skt.: Saddharmapuṇḍarikopadeśa
Eng. The Commentary on the Lotus Sutra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 44 “TIANTAI LOTUS TEXTS”)
A commentary (upadeśa) on the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka or “Lotus Sūtra,” this work is also known as the Ho-ke-kyō-ron (Ch.: Fa-hua-jing-lun; “Commentary on the ‘Lotus Sūtra’”). However the text of the “Lotus Sūtra” upon which it is based differs from that translated into Chinese by Kumārajīva (No. 12), bearing instead a close resemblance to the Nepalese manuscripts of the “Lotus Sūtra.”

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十住毘婆沙論 (Jū-jū-bi-ba-sha-ron)

Composed by Nāgārjuna 龍樹; translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 1521)
Ch.: Shi-chu-pi-po-sha-lun
Skt.: Daśabhūmika-vibhāṣā?
This “Exposition of the Ten Stages” is a commentary consisting of 35 chapters on the Daśabhūmika, the most important chapter of the Avataṃsaka-sūtra (No. 15), although it gives an exposition of only the first two of the ten stages in the practice of a bodhisattva. As a commentary on the ten stages it is therefore incomplete, but Chapter 9, entitled ‘Easy Practice,’ exerted considerable influence upon the development of the Pure Land Faith.
It should be noted that Kumārajīva has translated the term bhūmi (‘stage’) as chu (‘abode’), but this is simply a variation of the usual Chinese translation di,(‘earth’, ‘stage’). Pi-po-sha is a transliteration of the Sanskrit vibhāṣā, meaning ‘exposition’ or ‘commentary.’

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仏地経論/佛地經論 (Butsu-ji-kyō-ron)

Composed by Bandhuprabha 親光 et al.; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1530)
Ch.: Fo-di-jing-lun
Skt.: Buddhabhūmisūtra-śāstra?
Eng.: The Interpretation of the Buddha Land
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 25 “THE INTERPRETATION OF THE BUDDHA LAND”)
The stage prior to that of a buddha is known as that of the bodhisattva. This latter is again divided into various stages, the tenth and final one of which is called the ‘stage of a buddha’ (buddhabhūmi). This Buddhabhūmisūtra-śāstra, also known as the Buddhabhūmi-śāstra, is a commentary on a sūtra by the name of Buddhabhūmi-sūtra, which describes in detail the various aspects of this ‘buddha-stage.’ In commentating upon the sūtra, the contents of the latter are divided into three sections, a format which was widely adopted and served as a model for later commentaries on other sūtras.

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阿毘達磨倶舎論/阿毘逹磨倶舍論 (A-bi-datsu-ma-ku-sha-ron)

Composed by Vasubandhu 世親; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn. : Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1558)
Ch.: A-pi-da-mo-ju-she-lun
Skt.: Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣya
This work is a compendium of the Abhidharmamahā-vibhāṣā-śāstra, the most comprehensive exposition of Sectarian Buddhism, and provided the textual foundation of the Kusha School, one of the six schools of Buddhism to be introduced into Japan during the Nara Period, as well as serving as a basic text for the Hossō School. It is a critique of the doctrines of the Sarvāstivādin School of Sectarian Buddhism, but owing to the fact that their various doctrinal concepts have been brought together in a most succinct manner, it serves in fact rather as a very handy introduction to their thought. In Japan it has been a basic text for understanding the doctrines of the Hossō School, and has to that end been the object of active research over the centuries.

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中論 (Chū-ron)

Composed by Nāgārjuna 龍樹; commentated by Piṇgala 靑目; translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 1564)
Ch.: Zhong-lun
Skt.: Madhyamaka-śāstra
This work consists of 445 verses composed by Nāgārjuna as an exposition of the ‘Middle Way,’ the fundamental standpoint of the Mādhyamika School of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism, and a commentary thereon by Piṅgala. In Japan it has served as the basic text of the Sanron (‘Three Treatise’) School, one of the six schools of Buddhism to be introduced into Japan during the Nara Period. The commentary by Piṅgala is but one of many commentaries on the verses of Nāgārjuna, but the verses themselves are of vital importance in that they provided the theoretical foundation of Mahāyāna Buddhism and exerted great influence upon its philosophical development.

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瑜伽師地論 (Yu-ga-shi-ji-ron)

Expounded by Maitreya 彌勒; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1579)
Ch.: Yu-qie-shi-di-lun
Skt.: Yogācārabhūmi
This work is the basic text of the Yogācāra or Mind-Only School (Vijñānavāda), one of the two principle branches of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism, the other being the Mādhyamika School. Apart from describing the fundamental ‘store’ consciousness (ālaya-vijñāna), it also deals in detail with various tenets of Buddhist doctrine, and is thus an indispensable work in the study of both Theravada and Mahāyāna Buddhism.
According to the Chinese translation, this work is said to have been expounded by Maitreya and recorded by Asaṅga, but the Tibetan tradition ascribes it to Asaṅga.

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成唯識論 (Jō-yui-shiki-ron)

Composed by Dharmapāla 護法 et al.; translated by Xuan zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1585)
Ch.: Cheng-wei-shi-lun
Skt.: Vijñapimātratāsiddhi-śāstra?
Eng.: Demonstration of Consciousness Only
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 16 “THREE TEXTS ON CONSCIOUSNESS ONLY”)
This work is a commentary on Vasubandhu’s Triṃśikā (No. 55) based upon ten Indian commentaries, although it is composed from the standpoint of Dharmapāla with only passing references to the views of the other nine commentators. It presents an exposition of the Yogācāra or Mind-Only school of thought (Vijñānavāda), according to which there is a fundamental consciousness called ālaya-vijñāna (‘store-consciousness’) at the basis of the human personality in which all past actions are said to be stored. These latter are said to appear in present and future actions, and so all phenomena are regarded as manifestations of the mind.
This work has not only served as the basic text of the Fa-hsiang (Jpn.: Hossō) School in China and Japan, but is also an important work which, on account of its intrinsic merit, should be studied by all students of Buddhism.

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唯識三十論頌 (Yui-shiki-san-jū-ron-ju)

Composed by Vasubandhu 世親; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1586)
Ch.: Wei-shi-san-shi-lun-song
Skt.: Triṃśikā
Eng.: The Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 16 “THREE TEXTS ON CONSCIOUSNESS ONLY”)
This “Thirty Verses on the Mind-Only Doctrine” gets its name from the fact that it consists of thirty verses, and it is regarded as the basic text of the Fa-hsiang (Jpn.: Hossō) School in China and Japan. It is also the fundamental treatise of the Mind-Only doctrine (Vijñānavāda), which asserts that all phenomena are manifestations of the mind. It is said to have been the last of Vasubandhu’s works, and the Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi-śāstra (No. 54) is a commentarial work based upon it.

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唯識二十論 (Yui-shiki-ni-jū-ron)

Composed by Vasubandhu 世親; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1590)
Ch.: Wei-shi-er-shi-lun
Skt.: Viṃśatikā
Eng.: The Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 16 “THREE TEXTS ON CONSCIOUSNESS ONLY”)
This “Twenty Verses on the Mind-Only Doctrine” is so called because it consists of twenty verses, to each of which is appended a commentary. It is not only devoted to an exposition of the Mind-Only doctrine (Vijñānavāda), but also presents a critique of non-Buddhist philosophies and Theravada doctrine from the viewpoint of the Mind-Only doctrine, asserting that all phenomena are manifestations of man’s fundamental consciousness. This work is frequently quoted as an important authority in the Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi-śāstra (No. 54).

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摂大乗論/攝大乘論 (Shō-dai-jō-ron)

Composed by Asaṅga 無著; translated by Paramārtha 眞諦
(Taishō No. 1593)
Ch.: She-da-cheng-lun
Skt.: Mahāyānasaṃgraha
Eng.: The Summary of the Great Vehicle
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 1 “THE SUMMARY OF THE GREAT VEHICLE”)
This “Compendium of the Mahāyāna” is so called because it presents an attempt to systematize Buddhist thought into a united whole from the standpoint of the Mind-Only School (Vijñānavāda). The essentials of Mahāyāna Buddhism are arranged under ten headings, to each of which is devoted a single chapter.
This work became the basic text of the She-lun (=abbreviated title of this work) School in China.

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弁中辺論/辯中邊論 (Ben-chū-hen-ron)

Composed by Vasubandhu 世親; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1600)
Ch.: Bian-zhong-bian-lun
Skt.: Madhyāntavibhāga
This “Treatise on Discrimination between the Middle and Extremes” is a commentary on the verses of the same name by Maitreya. The variant translation by Paramārtha is entitled Chū-hen-fun-betsu-ron (Ch.: Zhong-bian-fen-bie-lun), which means the same as the title of the translation by Xuan-zhuang.
This work presents a systematization of the doctrine of the Yogācāra or Mind-Only School (Vijñānavāda) from the viewpoint of the ‘Middle (Way),’ the fundamental concept of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The ‘Extremes’ refer to conflicting and extremist ideas, the elimination of which is nothing other than the Middle Way, which is in turn the basic standpoint of this work.

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大乗荘厳経論/大乘莊嚴經論 (Dai-jō-shō-gon-gyō-ron)

Composed by Asaṅga 無著; transhted by Prabhākaramitra 波羅頗蜜多羅
(Taishō No. 1604)
Ch.: Da-cheng-zhuang-yan-jing-lun
Skt.: Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra
This work consists of verses composed by Maitreya and a commentary thereon by Asaṅga. The Mahāyāna teachings are stated to be the supreme teachings as well as being the most suitable teachings for effecting salvation. On the basis of this viewpoint, the practices which are to be performed by bodhisattvas are also described in detail.
In the Chinese translation this work is ascribed to Asaṅga, but in actual fact it is probable that the commentary on the verses ascribed to Maitreya was composed by Vasubandhu on the basis of the oral teachings of Asa·nga, his elder brother.

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大乗成業論/大乘成業論 (Dai-jō-jō-gō-ron)

Composed by Vasubandhu 世親; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1609)
Ch.: Da-cheng-cheng-ye-lun
Skt.: Karmasiddhiprakaraṇa
This work sets out to prove that all human activities― physical, verbal and mental―are manifestations of the 'store' consciousness (ālaya-vijñāna) propounded by the Mind-Only school of thought. At the same time it presents a critique of the various concepts of karma expounded in Hīnayāna Buddhism. Thus one can say that this work is an attempt to systematize the numerous theories on karma and the mind existing at the time by means of the concept of ālaya-vijñāna, the fundamental consciousness underlying the human mind.

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究竟一乗宝性論/究竟一乘寳性論 (Ku-kyō-ichi-jō-hō-shō-ron)

Translated by Ratnamati 勒那摩提
(Taishō No. 1611)
Ch.: Jiu-jing-yi-cheng-bao-xing-lun
Skt.: Ratnagotravibhāgamahāyānottaratantra-śāstra
A work representative of the Tathāgatagarbha school of thought in Mahāyāna Buddhism, this treatise gives a systematic exposition of the concept that the potential for becoming a buddha is inherent even in ordinary human beings. It includes many quotations from sūtras dealing with this idea, and is thus an important key to an understanding of the early stages in the development of the theory of tathāgata-garbha (‘Womb/Embryo of the Tathāgata’).
The author is not mentioned in the work itself, but according to the Chinese tradition it was composed by Sāramati, whereas the Tibetan tradition gives Maitreya as the author of the verses and Asa·nga as the author of the prose commentary.

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因明入正理論 (In-myō-nis-shō-ri-ron)

Composed by Śaṅkarasvāmin 商羯羅主; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 1630)
Ch.: Yin-ming-ru-zheng-li-lun
Skt.: Nyāyapraveśa
Nyāya is the Sanskrit term for ‘logic,’ and this “Introduction to Logic” is a simple and concise introduction to the theories of Dignāga, the founder of the Buddhist school of ‘New Logic,’ by his disciple Śaṅkarasvāmin. Whereas Dignāga's own Nyāyamukha (“Gate to Logic”) is an extremely difficult work, this exposition by Śaṅkarasvāmin is written in simple language and was therefore frequently referred to in the study of logic in China and Japan.

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大乗集菩薩学論/大乘集菩薩學論(Dai-jō-shū[ju]-bo-satsu-gaku-ron)

Composed by Dharmakīrti 法稱; translated by Dharma-pāla 法護 et al.
(Taishō No. 1636)
Ch.: Da-cheng-ji-pu-sa-xue-lun
Skt.: Śikṣāmuccaya
This work is a compendium of the teachings to be studied and practised by a bodhisattva, i.e. a practitioner of Mahāyāna Buddhism. It consists of three parts ―verses, quotations from sūtras, and simple comments by the author― and is a valuable source of material for our knowledge of the orthodox branch of late Indian Buddhism.
The Chinese translation gives Dharmakīrti as the author, but according to the Sanskrit text it was composed by Śāntideva.

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金剛針論 (Kon-gō-shin-ron)

Composed by Dharmakīrti 法稱; translated by Dharma-deva 法天
(Taishō No. 1642)
Ch.: Jin-gang-zhen-lun
Skt.: Vajrasūcī
This treatise, called “Diamond Needle,” presents a biting critique of the authoritarianism of the Veda scriptures and the supremacy of the Brahmans in Brahmanism, the traditional religion of India, from the standpoint of Buddhism. It also refutes the Brahmanical caste-system, asserting by means of various allegories that the four castes be equal, and denounces any toleration of such a system.
The Chinese translation ascribes this work to Dharmakīrti, but in the Sanskrit original the author is given as Aśvaghoṣa.

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彰所知論 (Shō-sho-chi-ron)

Composed by ’Phags-pa 發合思巴; translated by Sha-lo-pa 沙羅巴 (Jpn.: Sharapa)
(Taishō No. 1645)
Ch.: Zhang-suo-zhi-lun
Eng.: The Treatise on the Elucidation of the Knowable
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 29 “THE TREATISE ON THE ELUCIDATION OF THE KNOWABLE/ THE CYCLE OF THE FORMATION OF THE SCHISMATIC DOCTRINES”)
This work was written in the Yuan Period by the Tibetan ’Phags-pa for the Chinese Crown Prince at the time as an outline of Buddhist thought, and deals with such subjects as the Buddhist view of life and Buddhist cosmology. The teachings set forth are based on the whole on the Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣya (No. 51), but there are also to be found ideas peculiar to this work. The title, “Treatise on the Clarification of What is to be Known,” implies that all teachings that it is necessary to know are made clear by the contents of this work.
It was originally written in either Tibetan or Mongolian, but only the Chinese translation is extant.

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菩提行経/菩提行經 (Bo-dai-gyō-kyō)

Composed by Nāgārjuna 龍樹; translated by Devaśānti 天息災
(Taishō No. 1662)
Ch.: Pu-ti-xing-jing
Skt.: Bodhicaryāvatāra
This work, entitled “Entering the Path of Enlightenment,” consists of eight chapters in verse and sets out to describe the methods of practice for attaining enlightenment, the final goal of Buddhism, and the merits accruing from the observance of these teachings. In particular, Chapter 1 stresses the importance of generating ‘the thought of enlightenment’ (bodhicitta), i.e. resolving to strive for the attainment of enlightenment.
The Chinese translation ascribes this work to Nāgārjuna, whereas both the Sanskrit text and Tibetan translation give the author as Śāntideva; and even in the Chinese translation one finds phrases such as ‘the Sage Bodhisattva Nāgārjuna.’ Therefore, since it is unlikely that the author would refer to himself as a ‘sage,’ it is probable that it was composed by Śāntideva.

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金剛頂瑜伽中発阿耨多羅三藐三菩提心論/金剛頂瑜伽中發阿耨多羅三藐三菩提心論 (Kon-gō-chō-yu-ga-chū-hotsu-a-noku-ta-ra-san-myaku-san-bo-dai-shin-ron)

Translated by Amoghavajra 不空
(Taishō No. 1665)
Ch.: Jin-gang-ding-yu-qie-zhong-fa-a-nou-duo-luo-san-miao-san-pu-ti-xin-lum
Eng. The Bodhicitta Śāstra
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 48 “ESOTERIC TEXTS”)
This treatise is regarded as compulsory reading for all followers of the Shingon School of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan, and is usually known by its abbreviated title of Bo-dai-shin-ron or Hotsu-bo-dai-shin-ron. It deals with the ‘generation of the thought of enlightenment,’ i.e. concentrating the mind and generationg the aspiration to attain enlightenment, and the ‘attainment of Buddhahood in this body,’ i.e. attaining enlightenment in the physical body, and also discusses differences between Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism.
This work has traditionally been ascribed to Nāgārjuna, but this ascription has been considered spurious by many scholars past and present.

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大乗起信論/大乘起信論 (Dai-jō-ki-shin-ron)

Composed by Aśvaghoṣa 馬鳴; translated by Paramārtha 眞諦
(Taishō No. 1666)
Ch.: Da-cheng-qi-xin-lun
Skt.: Mahāyānaśraddhotpāda-śāstra?
Eng.: The Awakening of Faith
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 33 “THE AWAKENING OF FAITH”)
This “Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna” presents a concise synopsis of both the theoretical and practical aspects of the central ideas of Mahāyāna Buddhism, and has therefore been widely read as an introduction to Mahāyāna Buddhism. It is a short work, but extremely important in the history of Buddhism, having exerted influence in China and Japan upon the various schools of Buddhism, such as Hua-yen (Jpn.: Kegon), Tiantai (Jpn.: Tendai), Chan (Jpn.: Zen), Pure Land and Zhenyan (Jpn.: Shingon).
However, many questions remain concerning the author and place of composition, it still being unclear whether it was composed in India or China, and whether the author Aśvaghoṣa lived before or after Nāgārjuna.

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釈摩訶衍論/釋摩訶衍論 (Shaku-ma-ka-en-ron)

Composed by Nāgārjuna 龍樹; translated by Fa-di-mo-duo 筏提摩多 (Jpn.: Batsudaimata; Skt.: Vṛddhimata?)
(Taishō No. 1668)
Ch.: Shi-mo-he-yan-lun
The word mo-ho-yen in the title of this work is a transliteration of the Sanskrit Mahāyāna, and thus the title means “Commentary on the Mahāyāna Treatise,” ‘Mahāyāna Treatise’ in this case referring to “The Awakening of Faith” (No. 68). As with the latter work, there has been much divergence of opinion on the author and place of composition of this treatise, but it is generally held to have been composed in the seventh or eighth century in either China or Korea. Owing to the fact that Kūkai, the founder of the Shingon School in Japan, recognized it as a genuine work of Nāgārjuna, it has been considered as an important text in this school, and much study has been devoted to it.

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那先比丘経/那先比丘經 (Na-sen-bi-ku-kyō)

Translator unknown
(Taishō No. 1670)
Ch.: Na-xian-bi-qiu-jing
Pāli: Milindapañhā
Although it is referred to as a ‘sūtra’ in the Chinese version, this work is not a record of Śākyamuni’s own teachings, but gives an account of a dialogue on Buddhist thought between Milinda (Menander), the king during the latter half of the second century B.C. of the Greeks ruling northwestern India, and an Indian monk by the name of Nāgasena (Na-xian in the title). It ends with King Milinda’s being converted to Buddhism and taking the vows of a mendicant monk, and the work as a whole is a very valuable source of material in the study of differences between Eastern and Western thought.
In the Pāli Canon it is placed outside of the Tipiṭaka, but as a work of Buddhist literature its contents are of great importance. However, the Chinese translation differs somewhat in contents from the Pāli version, and the style of translation is not exactly fluent.

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CHINESE WORKS
般若波羅蜜多心経幽賛/般若波羅蜜多心經幽賛 (Han-nya-ha-ra-mit-ta-shin-gyō-yū-san)

Composed by Kui-ji 窺基 (Jpn.: Kiki)
(Taishō No. 1710)
Ch.: Ban-ruo-po-luo-mi-duo-xin-jing-yu-zan
Eng.: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heart Sutra (Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya-sūtra)
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 22 “A COMPREHENSIVE COMMENTARY ON THE HEART SUTRA”)
This work is the earliest Chinese commentary on the “Heart Sūtra” (Xuan-zhuang translation; No. 11), and is also known by its abbreviated title of Shin-gyō-yū-san. It gives a word-for-word commentary on the “Heart Sūtra” based upon the doctrines of the Fa-hsiang School, but also adds interpretations following the doctrifles of the San-lun School.

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妙法蓮華経玄義/妙法蓮華經玄義 (Myō-hō-ren-ge-kyō-gen-gi)

Composed by Zhi-yi 智顗 (Jpn.: Chigi)
(Taishō No. 1716)
Ch.: Miao-fa-lian-hua-jing-xuan-yi
This work, the title of which means “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sūtra,” is one of the so-called ‘Three Major Works of the Tian-tai School,’ together with the Hok-ke-mon-gu (Ch.: Fa-hua-wen-ju; Taishō No. 1718) and Ma-ka-shi-kan (No. 79), and is usually known as the Hok-ke-gen-gi. It presents a comprehensive interpretation of the five characters comprising the Chinese title of the “Lotus Sūtra” (No. 12), giving at the same time a detailed exposition of the doctrines of the Tian-tai School, which are based upon the thought of the “Lotus Sūtra.” It was thus a work of indispensable importance in the establishment of the Tian-tai School in China, and serves in fact as the basic framework of the Tian-tai school of thought.
It represents a record of the teachings of Zhi-yi as recorded by his disciple Guan-ding (Jpn.: Kanjō), and is not simply a theoretical work, but is characterized by the fact that it is grounded on Zhi-yi’s own religious experience.

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観無量寿仏経疏/觀無量壽佛經疏 (Kan-mu-ryō-ju-butsu-kyō-sho)

Composed by Shan-dao 善導 (Jpn.: Zendō)
(Taishō No. 1753)
Ch.: Guan-wu-liang-shou-fo-jing-shu
A commentary on the Amitāyurdhyāna-sūtra (No. 18), this work is also known as the Kan-gyō-sho, but in Japan it is most commonly called the Shi-jō-no-sho (“Commentary of Four Books”) owing to the fact that it consists of four parts.
This work represents the core of Shan-tao’s Pure Land thought, and has exerted considerable influence upon Pure Land Buddhism in Japan. Hōnen, the founder of the Pure Land School in Japan, came in contact with it through Genshin’s Ō-jō-yō-shū (No. 131), and as a result discarded all his previous practices and entered the path of ‘exclusive practice of nembutsu.’ Ever since it has been regarded as an extremely important work in the Japanese Pure Land School.

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三論玄義 (San-ron-gen-gi)

Composed by Ji-zang 吉藏 (Jpn.: Kichizō)
(Taishō No. 1852)
Ch.: San-lun-xuan-yi
This “Profound Meaning of the Three Treatises” written by Ji-zang, a prolific writer who completed the theoretical foundation of the San-lun School, is the basic treatise of the San-lun (Jap.: Sanron) School, and serves as a concise introduction to the thought of the Mādhyamika School. San-lun, meaning ‘Three Treatises,’ refers to the Madhyamaka-śāstra (No. 52), Śata-śāstra (Taishō No. 1569) and Dvādaśamukha-śāstra (Taishō No. 1568), and in this work Ji-zang first explains why these three treatises, together with the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra (Taishō No. 1509), are held in such high regard in the San-lun School, and then goes on to elaborate on the characteristics of each of these works and on their interrelationship.
In the Japanese Sanron School more importance has in fact been placed upon this work than upon the ‘Three Treatises’ themselves.

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大乗玄論/大乘玄論 (Dai-jō-gen-ron)

Composed by Ji-zang 吉藏 (Jpn.: Kichizō)
(Taishō No. 1853)
Ch.: Da-cheng-xuan-lun
One of the most important works written by Ji-zang, who brought the doctrines of the San-lun School to their culmination, this “Treatise on the Profound Meaning of the Mahāyāna” is an attempt to systematize the teachings of Buddhism from the Mādhyamika standpoint of the San-lun School. He deals with the principal currents of thought to be found in the Mahāyāna sūtras being studied in China at the time, and presents a contrastive study of their contents in comparison with the doctrines of the San-lun School. Therefore this work can be regarded together with the San-ron-gen-gi (No. 74) as one of the most important authoritative works of the San-lun School.

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肇論 (Jō-ron)

Composed by Seng-zhao 僧肇 (Jpn.: Sōjō)
(Taishō No. 1858)
Ch.: Zhao-lun
This work, the title of which means literally “Treatises of Seng-zhao,” consists of four treatises by Sêng-chao, a disciple of Kumārajīva, with a short piece added summarizing the basic views of the author on Buddhism. It exerted considerable influence on later Chinese Buddhism, and together with his Chū-yui-ma (Ch.: Zhu-wei-mo; “Commentary on the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa”; Taishō No. 1775), is one of his representative works. It is characterized by its typically Chinese understanding and interpretation of Buddhism, and is of significance in that important aspects of Buddhist doctrine are interpreted by reference to traditional Chinese philosophy. It is therefore a very important work when considering the development of Buddhism in China.

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華厳一乗教義分斉章/華嚴一乘教義分齊章 (Ke-gon-ichi-jō-kyō-gi-bun-zai-shō)

Composed by Fa-zang 法藏 (Jpn.: Hōzō)
(Taishō No. 1866)
Ch.: Hua-yan-yi-cheng-jiao-yi-fen-qi-zhang
This work, which is generally known as the (Ke-gon-) go-kyō-shō (Ch.: [Hua-yen-] wu-jiao-zhang; “Essay on the Five Teachings”), is both an outline of Buddhism from the standpoint of the Hua-yen School and an introduction to the teachings of the Hua-yen School itself. Buddhism is divided into five ‘teachings’ and the Avataṃsaka-sūtra (No. 15) is ranked as the supreme sūtra, but at the same time the author does not lose sight of Buddhism as an organic whole, attempting as he does to present a comprehensive systematization of its teachings.

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原人論 (Gen-nin-ron)

Composed by Zong-mi 宗密 (Jpn.: Shūmitsu)
(Taishō No. 1886)
Ch.: Yuan-ren-lun
In this work, also known as the Ke-gon-gen-nin-ron (Ch.: Hua-yen-yuan-ren-lun), Zong-mi, who advocated the amalgamation of Chan and Hua-yen, deals with the subject of the basis of human existence. He starts by criticizing Confucianism and Taoism and rejecting Hīnayāna and ‘Provisional’ Mahāyāna, after which he goes on to explain the true Mahāyāna, and then concludes by stating that all the viewpoints and philosophies which he has so far criticized are in fact factors which help to effect the manifestation of the true basis of human existence. One can thus say that in this work Zong-mi is attempting to bring together all teachings in a united whole.

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摩訶止観/摩訶止觀 (Ma-ka-shi-kan)

Expounded by Zhi-yi 智顗 (Jpn.: Chigi)
(Taishō No. 1911)
Ch.: Mo-he-zhi-guan
One of the so-called ‘Three Major Works of the Tian-tai School’ (v. No. 72), this work is a collection of lectures delivered by Chih-i, the founder of the Chinese Tian-tai School, and recorded by his disciple Kuan-ting (Jpn. : Kanjō), and is also known as the Ten-dai-ma-ka-shi-kan (Ch.: Tian-tai-mo-he-zhi-guan) or simply Shi-kan. It is the basic exposition of the methods of practice employed in the Tian-tai School, and describes the methods of practice for observing clearly the essence of the mind. It is divided into 10 chapters, but is incomplete, with Chapters 8 to 10 missing. However, it is a work which has exerted considerable influence upon the later development of Buddhism in China and Japan.
Being based as it is on Zhi-yi’s own religious experiences and practice, this work is held in particularly high esteem, and it is in fact due to this work that Zhi-yi has been looked upon as the greatest of all Buddhist leaders in the history of Chinese Buddhism.

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修習止観坐禅法要/修習止觀坐禪法要 (Shu-jū-shi-kan-za-zen-hō-yō)

Composed by Zhi-yi 智顗 (Jpn.: Chigi)
(Taishō No. 1915)
Ch.: Xiu-xi-zhi-guan-zuo-chan-fa-yao
Also known as the Dō-mō-shi-kan (Ch.: Tong-meng-zhi-guan) or Shō-shi-kan (Ch.: Xiao-zhi-guan), this work presents for the sake of novices the basic essentials of the method of meditation employed in the Tian-tai (Jpn.: Tendai) School. It is said to have been originally written by Zhi-yi, the founder of the Tian-tai School in China, for his elder brother Chen-zhen (Jpn.: Chinshin), and this has resulted in its extremely concise exposition of the methods of practice. It is thus considered as necessary reading for all novice monks in the Japanese Tendai School.

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天台四教儀/天台四敎儀(Ten-dai-shi-kyō-gi)

Recorded by Di-guan 諦觀 (Jpn.: Taikan)
(Taishō No. 1931)
Ch.: Tian-tai-si-jiao-yi
Eng. A Guide to the Tiantai Fourfold Teachings
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 44 “TIANTAI LOTUS TEXTS”)
This work, also known simply as the Shi-kyō-gi (“Outline of the Four Teachings”) or as Tai-kan-roku (Ch.: Di-guan-lu; “Record of Chegwan”), presents a synopsis of the doctrines of the Tian-tai School together with an outline of the methods of practice employed in this school. It is thus an introduction to the Buddhism of the Tian-tai School, but serves at the same time as an introduction to Buddhism as a whole, elucidating as it does the tenets of Buddhism in general. This work was discovered after the death of the author, who had come to China from Koryŏ.

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国清百録/國淸百録(Koku-sei-hyaku-roku)

Compiled by Guan-ding 灌頂 (Jpn.: Kanjō)
(Taishō No. 1934)
Ch.: Guo-qing-bai-lu
This work consists of a collection of 104 documents and other materials relating to Zhi-yi and put together by Kuan-ting, one of his disciples. Guo-qing in the title refers to Guo-qing Temple, the main temple of the Tian-tai School in China, and bai-lu (“One Hundred Records”) is a round figure referring to the 104 documents contained in this work.
This work provides the basic sources in the study of Zhi-yi’s biography, containing as it does imperial edicts, correspondence addressed to Zhi-yi, inscriptions, etc. It is therefore rich in material giving information on the state of affairs at the time, and contains important data relating to the early stages in the history of the Tian-tai School in China.

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鎮州臨済慧照禅師語録/鎭州臨濟慧照禪師語録 (Chin-shū-rin-zai-e-shō-zen-ji-go-roku)

Compiled by Hui-ran 慧然 (Jpn.: Enen)
(Taishō No. 1985)
Ch.: Zhn-zhou-lin-ji-hui-zhao-chan-shi-wu-lu
Eng.: The Recorded Sayings of Linji
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 15 “THREE CHAN CLASSICS”)
This work, generally known as “The Record of Lin-ji,” is a record of the teachings of Lin-ji Yi-xuan (Jpn.: Rinzai Gigen), the founder of the Lin-ji branch of the Chan (Jpn.: Zen) School, and was compiled by one of his disciples, Hui-ran. In the Lin-ji (Jpn.: Rinzai) School it is regarded as the most important collection of the recorded sayings of a Chan Master.
Zhen-zhou in the title is the name of the prefecture, and Lin-ji the name of the place where Lin-ji resided; Hui-chao Chan-shih (Chan-shih: ‘Chan Master’) is the title conferred upon him posthumously by the Tang emperor.

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仏果圜悟禅師碧巌録/佛果圜悟禪師碧巖録 (Buk-ka-en-go-zen-ji-heki-gan-roku)

Compiled by Zhong-xian 重顯( Jpn.: Jūken); commented upon by Ke-qin 克勤 (Jpn.: Kokugon)
(Taishō No. 2003)
Ch.: Fo-guo-yuan-wu-chan-shi-bi-yan-lu
Eng.: The Blue Cliff Record
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 14 “THE BLUE CLIFF RECORD”)
This “Blue Cliff Record,” also known as the Heki-gan-shū (Ch.: Bi-yan-ji; “Blue Cliff Collection”), consists of 100 gong-an (Jpn.: kōan) selected by Zhong-xian from the 1700 gong-an of the Den-tō-roku (Ch.: Zhuan-deng-lu; “Transmission of the Lamp”; Taishō No. 2076). Zhongxian has added explanatory verses to each of the gong-an, and later the comments of Ke-qin (= Yuan-wu in the title) were appended. In the Lin-ji (Jpn.: Rinzai) School this work is held in extremely high regard, and is looked upon as a model text for instruction in the practice of Chan.
It should be mentioned that the term gong-an refers to records of the statements and actions of eminent practitioners of Chan which are given to novices as aids to meditation.

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無門関/無門關 (Mu-mon-kan)

Compiled by Zong-shao 宗紹 (Jpn.: Shūshō)
(Taishō No. 2005)
Ch.: Wu-men-guan
Eng.: Wumen’s Gate
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 15 “THREE CHAN CLASSICS”)
This “Gatelass Barrier” consists of 48 gong-an (v. No. 84) selected by Wu-men Hui-kai (Jpn.: Mumon Ekai), a Chan monk of the Song Dynasty, to each of which are added a verse and comment. It has traditionally been the most highly prized work in the Chan School. When compared with other collections of gong-an, the gong-an contained in this work are relatively few in number, and this together with the fact that it is an introductory work to the practice of Chan has resulted in frequent use being made of it.
‘Gateless’ in the title means that although there is no gate to pass through when entering the state of enlightenment, there is an invisible gate called ‘Gateless.’

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六祖大師法宝壇経/六祖大師法寶壇經 (Roku-so-dai-shi-hō-bō-dan-gyō)

Compiled by Zong-bao 宗寶 (Jpn.: Shūhō); recorded by Fa-hai 法海 (Jpn.: Hokkai) et al.
(Taishō No. 2008)
Ch.: Liu-zu-da-shi-fa-bao-tan-jing
Eng.: The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 21 “THE PLATFORM SUTRA OF THE SIXTH PATRIARCH”)
This work consists of a record of the teachings of Hui-neng (Jpn.: Enō), the Sixth Patriarch of the Chan School in China, recorded by his disciple Fa-hai, and is known by several abbreviated titles such as Roku-so-dan-gyō (“Platform Sūtra of the Sixth Patriarch”), Dan-gyō (“Platform Sūtra”) or Hō-bō-dan-gyō (“Platform Sūtra of the Dharma Treasure”). It proclaims the independence of the Southern School of Chan from the Northern School, and discusses such subjects as ‘sudden enlightenment’ (dun-wu; Jpn.: tongo) and the external expression of one’s real nature (jian-xing; Jpn.: kenshō).

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信心銘 (Shin-jin-mei)

Composed by Seng-can 僧璨 (Jpn.: Sōsan)
(Taishō No. 2010)
Ch.: Xin-xin-ming
Eng.: The Faith-Mind Maxim
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 15 “THREE CHAN CLASSICS”)
In this work Seng-can, the Third Patriarch of the Chan School in China, gives expression to the highest state of Chan. It is a short work, consisting of 146 lines of 4 characters a line and amounting to a mere 584 characters, and states that the ultimate truth of Chan corresponds to a state of equality and absolute freedom, free of all differentiation and conflict, right and wrong, loss and gain.
These verses have been a favourite object of memorization and recitation by countless Chan monks over the ages, and with the development of Chan over the centuries they have become deeply imbedded in the life of Chan monasteries.

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黄檗山断際禅師伝心法要/黄檗山斷際禪師傳心法要 (Ō-baku-san-dan-sai-zen-ji-den-shin-hō-yō)

Compiled by Pei-xiu 裴休 (Jpn.: Haikyū)
(Taishō No. 2012-A)
Ch.: Huang-bo-shan-duan-ji-chan-shi-chuan-xin-fa-yao
Eng.: Essentials of the Transmission of Mind
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 32 “ZEN TEXTS”)
This is a record of the teachings of Huang-bo Xi-yun (Jpn.: Ōbaku Kiun), the founder of the Huang-bo branch of the Chan School in China, and was taken down by one of his lay disciples, Pei-xiu. This work is generally known by its abbreviated title of Den-shin-hō-yō (“Essentials of the Transmission of Mind”), and sets forth with extreme concision the substance of Chan.
Xi-yun was the teacher of Lin-ji Yi-xuan (Jpn.: Rinzai Gigen), the founder of the Lin-ji (Jpn.: Rinzai) School, and as a result this record of his teachings has been frequently referred to in China and Japan as a work expounding the fundamentals of the Lin-ji School of Chan.
Huang-bo-shan in the title (Mt. Huang-bo) refers to the mountain where Xi-yun lived, and Duan-ji was his title as a Chan Master.

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永嘉証道歌/永嘉證道歌 (Yō-ka-shō-dō-ka)

Composed by Xuan-jiao 玄覺 (Jpn.: Genkaku)
(Taishō No. 2014)
Ch.: Yong-jia-zheng-dao-ge
This work expresses in poetic form the substance of the Chan enlightenment gained in a single night by Yong-jia Xuan-jiao under the guidance of Hui-neng (Jpn.: Enō), the Sixth Patriarch of Chinese Chan. Although it comprises only 247 lines consisting in all of 814 characters, it expresses beautifully the essence of Chan, and has been recited by Chan monks ever since, being especially highly valued in the Cao-dong (Jpn.: Sōtō) School. Its title is frequently abbreviated to Shō-dō-ka, meaning “Song of Attaining the Path (of Enlightenment).”

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勅修百丈清規/勅修百丈淸規(Choku-shū-hyaku-jō-shin-gi)

Revised by De-hui 德輝 (Jpn.: Tokki)
(Taishō No. 2025)
Ch.: Chi-xiu-bai-zhang-qing-gui
Eng.: The Baizhang Zen Monastic Regulations
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 35 “THE BAIZHANG ZEN MONASTIC REGULATIONS”)
This work is based upon the rules and precepts for Chan monasteries laid down by Bai-zhang Huai-hai (Jpn.: Hyakujō Ekai). By the time of the Sung Dynasty, however, the original form of this code, known as the “Old Pure Regulations,” had already been lost, so Dong-yang De-hui (Jpn.: Tōyō Tokki) was ordered by imperial command to supplement it, resulting in this work.
It thus contains all the rules and precepts to be observed in Chan monasteries, and was widely adopted. An example of the Sinicization of Buddhism can be seen in physical labour being called zuo-wu (Jpn.: samu) and regarded as one of the basic elements of Chan practice. This work also exerted considerable influence in China on the codification of similar regulations in Taoism.

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異部宗輪論 (I-bu-shū-rin-ron)

Composed by Vasumitra 世友; translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō)
(Taishō No. 2031)
Ch.: Yi-bu-zhong-lun-lun
Skt.: Samayabhedoparacanacakra
Eng.: The Cycle of the Formation of the Schismatic Doctrines
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 29 “THE TREATISE ON THE ELUCIDATION OF THE KNOWABLE/ THE CYCLE OF THE FORMATION OF THE SCHISMATIC DOCTRINES”)
This work describes the course of the so-called ‘Basic Schism’ of Buddhism into the Theravāda and Mahāsāṃghika Schools, which took place over 100 years after the death of Śākyamuni, and the subsequent division of the Hīnayāna into 20 minor sects. It is written from the standpoint of the Sarvāstivādins, but also describes in detail the doctrinal characteristics of the other sects.
This work is thus not only indispensable in the study of the history of sectarian division in Buddhism, but, when one considers that the majority of extant doctrinal treatises of Hīnayāna belong to the Sarvāstivādins, it is also an invaluable source of material in the elucidation of the tenets of sects other than the Sarvāstivādins.

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阿育王経/阿育王經 (A-iku-ō-kyō)

Translated by Saṃghabhara 僧伽婆羅
(Taishō No. 2043)
Ch.: A-yu-wang-jing
Skt.: Aśokarāja-sūtra?
Eng.: The Biographical Scripture of King Aśoka
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 2 “THE BIOGRAPHICAL SCRIPTURE OF KING ASOKA”)
This is a biography of King Aśoka, the third ruler of the Mauryan Dynasty in Magadha in Central India during the third centrury B.C. It relates how King Aśoka unified India for the first time and, having been converted to Buddhism, sent emissaries throughout the land spreading the teachings of Buddhism.
There is a similar biography entitled A-iku-ō-den (Ch.: A-yu-wang-zhuan; Skt.: Aśokarājāvadāna; Taishō No. 2042), and since the contents and order of events described therein agree with the present work, the two are thought to be variant translations of the same original text.

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馬鳴菩薩伝/馬鳴菩薩傳 (Me-myō-bo-satsu-den)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 2046)
Ch.: Ma-ming-pu-sa-zhuan
Eng.: The Life of Aśvaghoṣa Bodhisattva
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 24 “LIVES OF GREAT MONKS AND NUNS”)
This “Biography of the Bodhisattva Aśvaghoṣa” is a biography of Aśvaghoṣa (ca. A.D. 100-160). Biographical references to Aśvaghoṣa are to be found in a number of other works too, but there are discrepancies in contents, dates and place-names. There are also many problems relating to the contents of this particular work, but it still does not lose its value as an important biography of the famous poet-scholar Aśvaghoṣa.

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龍樹菩薩伝/龍樹菩薩傳 (Ryū-ju-bo-satsu-den)

Translated by Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什
(Taishō No. 2047)
Ch.: Long-shu-pu-sa-zhuan
Eng.: The Life of Nāgārjuna Bodhisattva
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 24 “LIVES OF GREAT MONKS AND NUNS”)
This “Biography of the Bodhisattva Nāgārjuna” is a biography of Nāgārjuna (ca. A.D. 150-250), who is revered by all Buddhist schools in Japan as the ‘Founder of the Eight Schools.’ According to one view, this particular biography is simply a modified version of the section on Nāgārjuna contained in the Fu-hō-zō-in-nen-den (Ch.: Fu-fa-zang-yin-yuan-zhuan; Taishō No. 2058), a work which gives the biographies of the 28 Patriarchs who transmitted Buddhism after the death of Śākyamuni. But judging from the fact that it is alleged to have been translated by Kumārajīva, it is probable that it was composed as an independent work.

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婆藪槃豆法師伝/婆藪槃豆法師傳 (Ba-so-han-zu-hō-shi-den)

Translated by Paramārtha 眞諦
(Taishō No. 2049)
Ch.: Po-sou-pan-dou-fa-shi-zhuan
Eng.: Biography of Dharma Master Vasubandhu
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 24 “LIVES OF GREAT MONKS AND NUNS”)
Po-sou-pan-dou in the title is the Chinese transliteration of the name Vasubandhu, translated into Chinese as Tian-qin (Jpn.: Tenjin) and later as Shi-qin (Jpn.: Seshin), the latter appellation being that now most frequently used. The achievements of this scholar-monk, regarded as having laid the foundations of the Yogācāra School of Mahāyāna Buddhism, are described in many works, but this is the only independent biography, and its alternative names include Se-shin-den (Ch.: Shi-qin zhuan), Ten-jin-den (Ch.: Tian-qin-zhuan) and Ba-so-han-zu-den, all meaning “The Biography of Vasubandhu.”

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大唐大慈恩寺三蔵法師伝/大唐大慈恩寺三藏法師傳 (Dai-tō-dai-ji-on-ji-san-zō-hō-shi-den)

Composed by Hui-li 慧立 (Jpn.: Eryū); supplemented by Yan-cong 彥悰 (Jpn.: Gensō)
(Taishō No. 2053)
Ch.: Da-tang-da-ci-en-si-san-cang-fa-shi-zhuan
Eng.: A Biography of the Tripiṭaka Master of the Great Ci’en Monastery of the Great Tang Dynasty
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 7 “A BIOGRAPHY OF THE TRIPIṬAKA MASTER OF THE GREAT CI'EN MONASTERY OF THE GREAT TANG DYNASTY”)
This work, also known as the Ji-on-ji-san-zō-hō-shi-den, is a biography of Xuan-zhuang (Jpn.: Genjō), the author of the Dai-tō-sai-iki-ki (Ch.: Da-tang-xi-yu-ji; “Record of the Western Regions of Greater Tang”; No. 100). Starting with Xuan-zhuang’s birth, it describes his journey lasting more than ten years from China to India in seach of the Dharma, and then goes on to record his achievements after his return to China. It is thus a complete biography, and whereas the “Record of the Western Regions” is compiled on the basis of firsthand observations of geographical features, etc., this work is centered on the account of his actual journey. It should be noted that the Sai-yū-ki (Ch.: Xi-you-ji; “Monkey”), written during the Ming Dynasty, was modelled upon this work.

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高僧伝/高僧傳 (Kō-sō-den)

Composed by Hui-jiao 慧皎 (Jpn.: Ekō)
(Taishō No. 2059)
Ch.: Kao-seng-zhuan
This “Biographies of Eminent Monks,” also known as “The Liang Biographies of Eminent Monks,” records the biographies of a selection of eminent Chinese monks who lived during the period of 453 years from A.D. 67, when Buddhism is said to have been first introduced into China, to A.D. 519. It contains the full biographies of 257 monks as well as short sketches of the lives of an additional 243 monks.
Works devoted to the biographies of monks of high moral virtue are generally known as “Biographies of Eminent Monks,” and the present work is the oldest work of this genre. It is divided into 10 sections, in accordance with the varying achievements of the monks whose biographies it records.

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比丘尼伝/比丘尼傳 (Bi-ku-ni-den)

Composed by Bao-chang 寶唱 (Jpn.: Hōshō)
(Taishō No. 2063)
Ch.: Bi-qiu-ni-zhuan
This “Biographies of Buddhist Nuns” contains the biographies of 65 Chinese Buddhist nuns (bi-qiu-ni= Skt.: bhikuṇī) who lived during the period of approximately 160 years between the Eastern Chin and Liang Dynasties. According to the introduction, in former times many virtuous nuns were to be met with, but at the time of the Liang Dynasty when this work was compiled there were few nuns to be found rigorously observing the monastic precepts. Accordingly the author brought together various inscriptions, the recollections of elderly people and other relevant records into this single volume in order to provide examples for future nuns.

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高僧法顕伝/高僧法顯傳 (Kō-sō-hok-ken-den)

Recorded by Fa-xian 法顯 (Jpn.: Hokken)
(Taishō No. 2085)
Ch.: Kao-seng-fa-xian-zhuan
Eng.: The Journey of the Eminent Monk Faxian
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 24 “LIVES OF GREAT MONKS AND NUNS”)
This work, entitled “Biography of the Eminent Monk Fa-xian,” is a record by Fa-xian himself of his travels in India, and is also known as the Hok-ken-den, Buk-koku-ki (Ch.: Fo-guo-ji; “Record of Buddhist Kingdoms”) and Reki-yū-ten-jiku-ki-den (Ch.: Li-you-tian-zhu-zhuan; “Account of Travels in India”).
Fa-xian set out on his journey in search of the Dharma in A.D. 399, and passing through Central Asia via the Southern Route, reached Northwest India, from where he moved on to Central India, visiting temples and shrines on the way. He then made pilgrimages to various sites associated with Śākyamuni, studied Buddhist scriptures and the monastic code, and made copies of numerous texts. From India he crossed over to Ceylon and then returned to China by sea, arriving in 412. This work is an account of his observations and experiences during this journey. It is a valuable source of information on Buddhism and Buddhist culture in India and Central Asia at the start of the fifth century, and is the oldest extant account by a Buddhist monk of his travels in India.

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大唐西域記 (Dai-tō-sai-iki-ki)

Translated by Xuan-zhuang 玄奘 (Jpn.: Genjō); compiled by Bian-ji 辯機 (Jpn.: Benki)
(Taishō No. 2087)
Ch.: Da-tang-xi-yu-ji
Eng.: The Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 11 “THE GREAT TANG DYNASTY RECORD OF THE WESTERN REGIONS”)
This work, generally known as the “Records of Western Regions,” is an account of Xuan-zhuang’s travels in Central Asia and India from A.D. 627, when he set out from China, until his return in 645, and was compiled on the basis of Xuan-zhuang’s own travel records by his disciple Bian-ji. It deals with such subjects as the state of Buddhism at the time and the geography, customs industry and government of the 110 countries which he himself visited and of 28 countries about which he heard from other people.
It is thus a valuable historical document, and recording as it does distances, directions and measurements as well as giving accurate transliterations of native words, it is unsurpassed in its geographical descriptions by any other work. It also serves as an indispensable guidebook in archaeological excavations and expeditions.

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唐大和上東征伝/遊方記抄: 唐大和上東征傳 (Tō-dai-wa-jō-tō-sei-den)

Composed by Yuan-kai 元開 (Jpn.: Genkai)
(Taishō No. 2089-7)
Ch.: Tang-da-he-shang-dong-zheng-zhuan
This work, entitled “The Account of the Expedition to the East by the Great Master of Tang,” is a biography of Jian-zhen (Jpn.: Ganjin), the Chinese monk who transmitted the Buddhist monastic code to Japan during the Nara Period. It is divided into three parts.
Part 1 covers the period from Jian-zhen’s first contact with Buddhism until his meeting with two student-monks from Japan; Part 2 describes his six attempts to cross over to Japan; and Part 3 gives a brief account of events from after his arrival in Japan until his death.
The most important section is Part 2, which describes in detail the hardships undergone by Jian-zhen and his party before they actually managed to reach Japan, and the work as a whole is an important historical document in that it gives a concrete account of one chapter in the transmission of Buddhism to Japan.

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弘明集 (Gu-myō-shū)

Composed by Seng-yu 僧祐 (Jpn.: Sōyū)
(Taishō No. 2102)
Ch.: Hong-ming-ji
Eng. The Collection For The Propagation and Clarification Of Buddhism Volume Ⅰ
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 47 “THE COLLECTION FOR THE PROPAGATION AND CLARIFICATION OF BUDDHISM Volume Ⅰ”)
Hung-ming in the title is an abbreviation of hong-dao-ming-jiao (Jpn.: gu-dō-myō-kyō), meaning ‘to spread the way and elucidate the teaching,’ and this work, compiled by Seng-yu during the Liang Dynasty, is a collection of treatises on Buddhism thought by the compiler to be instructive and composed during the preceding 500 years. The first 11 fascicles, consisting of replies by Buddhists to criticism from Confucianists and Taoists, clarify the differences between the teachings of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, whilst the last 3 fascicles contain works dealing directly with Buddhist doctrine.
The work as a whole is composed in such a way as to be readily understood by the average reader, and it is thus an important source of information on the state of Buddhism at the time of its composition.

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法苑珠林 (Hō-on-ju-rin)

Composed by Dao-shi 道世 (Jpn.: Dōse)
(Taishō No. 2122)
Ch.: Fa-yuan-zhu-lin
Expressed in modern terms, this work is an encyclopaedia of Buddhism. It consists of itemized explanations of Buddhist doctrine, terms and concepts, and is also rich in quotations from numerous scriptures. Many of the works quoted are no longer extant, and so it serves as a valuable source of textual material. In addition, the quotations are classified and cited according to their contents; hence it is very convenient to consult, resulting in its having been used by many scholars in the past. It is divided into 100 volumes and its contents are further classified under 668 headings.

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南海寄帰内法伝/南海寄歸内法傳 (Nan-kai-ki-ki-nai-hō-den)

Composed by Yi-jing 義淨 (Jpn.: Gijō)
(Taishō No. 2125)
Ch.: Nan-hai-ji-gui-nei-fa-zhuan
Eng.: Buddhist Monastic Traditions of Southern Asia
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 18 “BUDDHIST MONASTIC TRADITIONS OF SOUTHERN ASIA”)
The full title of this work, generally known in English as “A Record of the Buddhist Religions as Practiced in India and the Malay Archipelago,” is Dai-tō-(Ch.: Da-tang-; “Greater Tang”) nan-kai-ki-ki-nai-hō-den, and it is also abbreviated as Nan-kai-ki-ki-den.
Yi-jing left China in A.D. 671 for India and Southeast Asia, and this work is a detailed record of his observations on monastic discipline and life in the monasteries he visited. He wrote it underway and sent it home to China in order to make the monks there reflect upon the state of their monastic discipline by giving an indication of the strict discipline observed by monks in India and neighboring countries. It is thus a valuable source of material on the organization of the Buddhist community in these countries and the state of monastic discipline at the time.

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梵語雑名/梵語雜名 (Bon-go-zō-myō)

Compiled by Li-yan 禮言 (Jpn.: Raigon)
(Taishō No. 2135)
Ch.: Fan-yu-za-ming
This “Miscellany of Sanskrit Words” is what might be called a Chinese-Sanskrit dictionary, consisting of 1,205 Chinese words used in daily life and their Sanskrit equivalents. The words selected are arranged according to contents, so it is a very handy reference work for beginners in the study of Sanskrit. The Sanskrit equivalents are indicated by both their Chinese transliterations and the Sanskrit alphabet; hence it is also a valuable work for assessing the standard of Sanskrit studies in China at the time.

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JAPANESE WORKS
勝鬘経義疏/勝鬘經義疏(Shō-man-gyō-gi-sho)

Composed by Prince Shōtoku 聖德太子
(Taishō No. 2185)
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 42 “PRINCE SHŌTOKU’S COMMENTARY ON THE ŚRĪMĀLĀ SUTRA”)
This work is a commentary on the Śrīmālā-sūtra (No. 16), and is considered to be the earliest of the “Commentaries on Three Sūtras” (San-gyō-gi-sho) composed by Prince Shōtoku.
The Nihon-shoki (“Chronicles of Japan”) records that Prince Shōtoku gave a discourse on the Śrīmālā-sūtra for Empress Suiko. It is considered that Prince Shōtoku chose this particular sūtra as the subject of his discourse to the Empress probably because the protagonist of the Śrīmālā-sūtra is a woman, Śrīmālā, and Empress Suiko was the first Empress in Japanese history. The present work was then put together in book-form at a later date.
Be that as it may, there is no changing the fact that this was the first written work composed by a Japanese.

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維摩経義疏/維摩經義疏 (Yui-ma-kyō-gi-sho)

Composed by Prince Shōtoku 聖德太子
(Taishō No. 2186)
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 43 “EXPOSITORY COMMENTARY ON VIMALAKĪRTI SUTRA”)
A commentary on the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa (No. 27), this work is one of the “Commentaries on Three Sūtras” (San-gyō-gi-sho) composed by Prince Shōtoku. It is considered that one reason for Prince Shōtoku’s having chosen this particular sūtra was the fact that the status of the protagonist Vimalakīrti, not an ordained monk but a simple lay bodhisattva, resembled his own position.
There have in the past been raised doubts whether this work was in fact composed by Prince Shōtoku. However, at present there is no conclusive proof indicating that it be the work of someone other than the author of the other two “Commentaries on Three Sūtras,” and so it is considered that the most reasonable view be to ascribe all three commentaries to Prince Shōtoku.

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法華義疏 (Hok-ke-gi-sho)

Composed by Prince Shōtoku 聖德太子
(Taishō No. 2187)
This work is a commentary on the “Lotus Sūtra” (No. 12), and is one of the “Commentaries on Three Sūtras” (San-gyō-gi-sho) by Prince Shōtoku. Although the author does refer to Chinese commentaries on the “Lotus Sūtra,” his own original views are also in evidence throughout the work. Thus it can be regarded as the first interpretation of Buddhist thought by a Japanese.
In particular, the author’s evaluation of the contents of the “Lotus Sūtra” as the ‘One Mahāyāna’ had immense impact upon Japanese Buddhism in later times. In fact the “Lotus Sūtra” has been regarded throughout the history of Japanese Buddhism as one of the most important of all sūtras.

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般若心経秘鍵/般若心經祕鍵 (Han-nya-shin-gyō-hi-ken)

Composed by Kūkai 空海
(Taishō No. 2203-A)
Today the “Heart Sūtra” (Jpn.: Han-nya-shin-gyō; No. 11) is still used in many schools of Japanese Buddhism, and over the centuries many commentaries have been composed on this sūtra. This particular commentary, “The Secret Key to the Heart Sūtra,” is characterized by the fact that it is written from the standpoint of the Shingon School of Esoteric Buddhism, asserting that the “Heart Sūtra” be in fact an esoteric text.
Kūkai discusses first the general purport, title, and variant translations of this sūtra from the standpoint of Esoteric Buddhism, and then goes on to divide it into 5 parts and to give an interpretation of each part. According to the colophon, this commentary was composed by imperial order at a time when the land was being ravaged by a plague.

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大乗法相研神章/大乘法相研神章 (Dai-jō-hos-sō-ken-jin-shō)

Composed by Gomyō 護命
(Taishō No. 2309)
In 830 Emperor Junna ordered each of the Buddhist schools to present to the throne a treatise outlining the essentials of its teachings. The six works presented at this time are known collectively as the “Six Religious Treatises of the Tenchō Era,” and the present work is the treatise submitted on this occasion by the Hossō School.
The author Gomyō was the most renowned Buddhist scholar of the Early Heian Period and seems to have been a prolific writer, but his only extant work is the present treatise. This work is important not simply because it is one of the “Six Religious Treatises” but also because it is a valuable source of material in the study of the Mind-Only doctrine in Japan.

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観心覚夢鈔/觀心覺夢鈔 (Kan-jin-kaku-mu-shō)

Composed by Ryōhen 良遍
(Taishō No. 2312)
Kanjin (‘observing the mind’) in the title means to observe that no external phenomena exist independent of the human mind, and kakumu (‘awaking from a dream’) means to awaken from the dream of bewildered existence by means of such observation and to realize the truth.
In other words, this work represents a fusion of the Mind-Only doctrine and Mahāyāna Buddhism from the standpoint of the former, composed in order to counter the Neo-Buddhism of the Kamakura Period. Thus it can also be regarded as an introduction to the philosophy of the Mind-Only doctrine, although the theories evolved therein are somewhat unorthodox owing to the fact that the ideas of the author are also based upon an understanding of the doctrines of the Kegon, Vinaya and Pure Land schools of thought.

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律宗綱要 (Ris-shū-kō-yō)

Composed by Gyōnen 凝然
(Taishō No. 2348)
Eng.: The Essentials of the Vinaya Tradition
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 9 “THE COLLECTED TEACHINGS OF THE TENDAI LOTUS SCHOOL / THE ESSENTIALS OF THE VINAYA TRADITION”)
There is a work by the same author entitled Has-shū-kō-yō (“Essentials of the Eight Traditions”; No. 136), giving an outline of the six schools of Japanese Buddhism belonging to the Nara Period and the two schools of the Heian Period. This “Essentials of the Vinaya Tradition,” however, deals only with Risshū, the Vinaya School, giving a detailed account of its teachings and history.
It describes the position occupied by discipline within the framework of Buddhist practice, discusses in concrete terms and from a practitioner’s point of view the various forms of discipline, ranging from those of Hīnayāna Buddhism to those of Mahāyāna Buddhism, and gives an account of the transmission of the individual articles of the monastic code from India via China to Japan, indicating at the same time the changes that had taken place up until the time of the author.

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天台法華宗義集 (Ten-dai-hok-ke-shū-gi-shū)

Composed by Gishin 義眞
(Taishō No. 2366)
Eng.: The Collected Teachings of the Tendai Lotus School
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 9 “THE COLLECTED TEACHINGS OF THE TENDAI LOTUS SCHOOL / THE ESSENTIALS OF THE VINAYA TRADITION”)
In the Early Heian Period (830) Emperor Junna ordered each of the Buddhist schools to submit a treatise outlining the essentials of its teachings. These are collectively known as the “Six Religious Treatises (of the Tenchō Era),” and the present work, also known simply as the Ten-dai-shū-gi-shū, is one of these, being a summary of the teachings of the Tendai School. It gives a short and clear explanation of most of the main tenets of the Tendai School, and is thus very convenient for acquainting the reader with the doctrines of this school.

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顕戒論/顯戒論 (Ken-kai-ron)

Composed by Saichō 最澄
(Taishō No. 2376)
The author of this work, Saichō, was strongly opposed to the Hīnayāna monastic precepts, favouring instead the Mahāyāna precepts. In support of his ideas he had presented to the throne the San-ge-gaku-shō-shiki (No. 115), specifying in three sections the regulations to be observed by monks of the Tendai School. Owing to the intense opposition of the six schools of Buddhism based in Nara, Saichō was unable to gain ready imperial sanction for these regulations. Accordingly he composed this “Treatise Clarifying the Precepts,” written to counter the arguments of the Nara schools against the four articles of the third section of his San-ge-gaku-shō-shiki. In the present work, he demonstrates that it is not at all proper to adhere stubbornly to the Hīnayāna precepts, giving at the same time detailed quotations of the arguments of the Nara schools. As it turned out, permission for the Mahāyāna precepts was not granted during Saichō’s lifetime; imperial sanction was finally given one week after his death, and the Tendai School was recognized as an independent school unattached to the Nara schools. In the light of these facts, it is valid to say that this work exerted considerable influence upon Japanese attitudes towards monastic precepts.

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山家学生式/山家學生式 (San-ge-gaku-shō-shiki)

Composed by Saichō 最澄
(Taishō No. 2377)
This work presents the regulations laid down by Saichō, the founder of the Japanese Tendai School, to be observed by young monks being trained in this school. The first section consists of six articles and lists the regulations for the two students annually appointed by the court to study Tendai Buddhism; the second section, consisting of eight articles, gives a more detailed explanation of these regulations; and the third section, consisting of four articles, discusses the Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna precepts. These three groups of regulations are collectively known as the San-ge-gaku-shō-shiki (“Regulations for Students of the Mountain School”).
At the time of Saichō it was necessary for monks to be ordained in accordance with the Hīnayāna precepts in order to be recognized by the government as qualified monks. Saichō opposed this, advocating instead the Mahāyāna precepts based on the Bon-mō-kyō (No. 46). The present work represents the three petitions made by Saichō to the throne for imperial sanction of the Mahāyāna precepts.

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秘蔵宝鑰/祕藏寶鑰 (Hi-zō-hō-yaku)

Composed by Kūkai 空海
(Taishō No. 2426)
Eng.: The Precious Key to the Secret Treasury
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 28 “SHINGON TEXTS”)
In the Early Heian Period (830) Emperor Junna ordered the representatives of each school of Buddhism to submit a treatise summarizing the doctrines of their respective schools. The six treatises presented on this occasion included the bulky Jū-jū-shin-ron (“Treatise on the Ten Stages of the Mind”; Taishō No. 2425) of ten fascicles by the present author, outlining the doctrines of the Shingon School. However, this work proved to be too voluminous in comparison with the works presented by the other schools, and Kūkai was requested to submit a simplified version. The result was this “Precious Key to the Secret Treasury.”
Kūkai’s method in clarifying the position of the Shingon School was to formulate a system of critical categorization made up of ‘ten stages of the mind,’ embracing not only the various schools of Buddhism but also the religions of India and China; the Shingon School is ranked as the highest stage of all. It should be noted that the “Treatise on the Ten Stages of the Mind” is also known as the “Expanded Treatise”; in contrast, the present work is referred to as the “Condensed Treatise.”

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弁顕密二教論/辨顯密二敎論 (Ben-ken-mitsu-ni-kyō-ron)

Composed by Kūkai 空海
(Taishō No. 2427)
Eng.: On the Differences between the Exoteric and Esoteric Teachings
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 28 “SHINGON TEXTS”)
This “Treatise on the Differences between the Two Teachings of Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism,” also known simply as Ni-kyō-ron (“Treatise on the Two Teachings”), sets forth, as is implied by the title, a comparative study of the qualitative differences between the two branches of Buddhism, ‘Exoteric Buddhism’ and ‘Esoteric Buddhism’; Kūkai concludes that Esoteric Buddhism be the supreme teaching.
The points discussed in this work are: the buddhas said to have revealed the two teachings, the contents of the teachings, the period of time necessary for attaining Buddhahood, and the benefits deriving from the two teachings. With the help of quotations from many scriptures, Kūkai demonstrates that Esoteric Buddhism be superior to Exoteric Buddhism in regard to all of the above points.

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即身成仏義/卽身成佛義 (Soku-shin-jō-butsu-gi)

Composed by Kūkai 空海
(Taishō No. 2428)
Eng.: The Meaning of Becoming a Buddha in This Very Body
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 28 “SHINGON TEXTS”)
In the Buddhism practiced in Japan prior to the time of Kūkai it had been maintained that it was possible to become a buddha only after spending an enormously long period of time repeating the cycle of birth and death; this was known as san-kō-jō-butsu (‘becoming a buddha in three kalpas’) or ryaku-kō-jō-butsu (‘becoming a buddha after passing through countless kalpas’). In the present work Kūkai expounds the idea that it is possible to become a buddha in this very body (soku-shin-jō-butsu). This work is thus an elucidation from the standpoint of the Shingon School of the theory and practice leading to this ‘attainment of Buddhahood in this very body.’
When one considers the influence this treatise had on later Japanese Buddhism, it is valid to say it is philosophically an extremely important work.

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声字実相義/聲字實相義 (Shō-ji-jis-sō-gi)

Composed by Kūkai 空海
(Taishō No. 2429)
Eng.: The Meanings of Sound, Sign, and Reality
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 28 “SHINGON TEXTS”)
Within the doctrine of the Shingon School there is the theory that the activities of body, speech and mind are essentially of the same nature as the corresponding activities of a buddha. These three forms of activity are thus referred to as the ‘secret of body,’ ‘secret of speech’ and ‘secret of mind,’ and are known collectively as the ‘three secrets.’ The present work, “The Meanings of Sound, Word and Reality,” deals with the ‘secret of speech.’
Quoting from the Mahāvairocana-sūtra (No. 39), Kūkai states that ‘sound’ and ‘word’ are in essence manifestations of the virtues of Mahāvairocana, the embodiment of truth itself, and that therefore mantras (Jpn.: shingon) are actually manifestations of truth. The name Shingon School derives in fact from this view that the word is truth itself.

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吽字義 (Un-ji-gi)

Composed by Kūkai 空海
(Taishō No. 2430)
Eng.: The Meanings of the Word Hūṃ
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 28 “SHINGON TEXTS”)
Un is the transliteration of Sanskrit hūṃ, the last letter of the alphabet in contrast to a, the first letter. This “Meanings of the Letter hūṃ” discusses the superficial and profound meanings of this letter, and is regarded as compulsory reading in the Shingon School. The superficial meanings of hūṃ are elucidated from the standpoint of Exoteric Buddhism, whereas the profound meanings are clarified from the standpoint of Esoteric Buddhism.

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五輪九字明秘密釈/五輪九字明祕密釋 (Go-rin-ku-ji-myō-hi-mitsu-shaku)

Composed by Kakuban 覺鑁
(Taishō No. 2514)
Eng.: The Illuminating Secret Commentary on the Five Cakras and the Nine Syllables
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 28 “SHINGON TEXTS”)
Towards the end of the Heian Period when the author of this “Secret Interpretation of the Five Wheels and the Nine-Letter Mantra” lived, the belief in rebirth in the western paradise of Sukhāvatī was gaining in popularity. In this work Kakuban sets out to establish from the standpoint of Esoteric Buddism that Mahāvairocana and Amitāyus are in fact one, that the Ghanavyūha paradise of Mahāvairocana and Sukhāvatī of Amitāyus are the same place, and that rebirth in Sukhāvatī is equivalent to the attainment of Buddhahood.
The ‘Five Wheels’ mentioned in the title refer to the five constituent elements of all terrestrial phenomena (earth, water, fire, wind and air), and the ‘Nine-Letter Mantra’ is Amitāyus’ mantra which consists in Sanskrit of nine syllables. Kakuban demonstrates that since these five wheels and nine letters are identical, Mahāvairocana and Amitāyus are also in fact identical. This work is thus regarded with importance in that it is an exposition of the esoteric view of Amitāyus and Sukhāvatī.

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密厳院発露懺悔文/密嚴院發露懺悔文 (Mitsu-gon-in-hotsu-ro-san-ge-mon)

Composed by Kakuban 覺鑁
(Taishō No. 2527)
Eng.: The Mitsugonin Confession
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 28 “SHINGON TEXTS”)
At the age of 41 Kakuban, the author of this work and the founder of the New Doctrine branch of the Shingon School, resigned all his official posts and, shutting himself up in a room of the Mitsugon-in Temple, spent 1,500 days in silent meditation. The present work was written at this time and is in verse form, consisting of 44 lines of 7 characters a line.
It is an expression of what might be called ‘absolute penitence,’ in which the author repents of not only his own sins but also those committed by others. Deploring the moral corruption of the monks at the time, Kakuban probably adopted this style in order to sound a warning to the Buddhist community. Even today this work is recited at least once a day by monks belonging to sects descending from Kakuban’s school.

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興禅護国論/興禪護國論 (Kō-zen-go-koku-ron)

Composed by Eisai 榮西
(Taishō No. 2543)
Eng.: A Treatise on Letting Zen Flourish to Protect the State
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 32 “ZEN TEXTS”)
This “Treatise on Letting Zen Flourish to Protect the State” advocates that the recognition of Zen as an independent Buddhist school be necessary for both the sake of Buddhism and the prosperity of the state. It was the author, Eisai, who had transmitted the Rinzai (Ch.: Lin-ji) School of Zen to Japan, but in doing so he met with strong criticism from the Tendai and other traditional schools of Buddhism. In reply he composed this work, emphasizing that the propagation of Zen be in fact equivalent to protecting the land of Japan.
The work consists in all of 10 chapters, and all discussions are supported by quotations from Buddhist scriptures. A short biography of Eisai by an unknown author has also been added as an introduction.

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普勧坐禅儀/普勸坐禪儀 (Fu-kan-za-zen-gi)

Composed by Dōgen 道元
(Taishō No. 2580)
Eng.: A Universal Recommendation for True Zazen
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 32 “ZEN TEXTS”)
This “Universal Recommendation for True Zazen” by Dōgen, the founder of the Japanese Sōtō School of Zen, was written in 1227 immediately after Dōgen’s return to Japan from China. It elucidates the true significance of Zazen and emphasizes the importance of its practice.
Dōgen considered Zazen not to be a means for attaining enlightenment but to be in fact the whole of Buddhist practice, and maintained that practicing Zazen be equivalent to the very state of a buddha. The present work was written in order to spread his ideas on Zazen in their undiluted form, and formed the basis for the establishment of the Sōtō School. It is a short work, consisting of a mere 786 characters, but its contents are not necessarily of a readily understandable nature.

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正法眼蔵/正法眼藏 (Shō-bō-gen-zō)

Composed by Dōgen 道元
(Taishō No. 2582)
Eng.: Shōbōgenzō: The True Dharma-eye Treasury
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 36 “THE TRUE DHARMA-EYE TREASURY Volume I”)
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 37 “THE TRUE DHARMA-EYE TREASURY Volume II”)
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 38 “THE TRUE DHARMA-EYE TREASURY Volume III”)
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 39 “THE TRUE DHARMA-EYE TREASURY Volume IV”)
This work, “The True Dharma-Eye Treasury,” is the literary masterpiece of Dōgen, the founder of the Japanese Sōtō School of Zen, and is an exposition in Japanese (not classical Chinese) of the tenets of this school. Dōgen originally intended to write a work of 100 fascicles, but owing to his premature death from illness he got only as far as the 95th fascicle.
In order to clarify his own standpoint, Dōgen discusses in detail the differences between his views and those of other Buddhist schools; hence one is able to gain a comprehensive understanding of his thought. The title refers to the true teachings taught by the Buddha during the span of his life, and in this work all aspects of Buddhist doctrine, scriptures, way of life and practice are described from the standpoint of the author, This work is held in very high regard, being considered the most outstanding philosophical work written by a Japanese.

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坐禅用心記/坐禪用心記 (Za-zen-yō-jin-ki)

Composed by Keizan Jōkin 瑩山紹瑾
(Taishō No. 2586)
Eng.: Advice on the Practice of Zazen
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 32 “ZEN TEXTS”)
This “Advice on the Practice Zazen” was written by Keizan Jōkin, of the Japanese Sōtō School of Zen, who is also known by the honorific title of ‘Great Founder’ (Taiso) and was the founder of Sōji-ji Temple. It discusses the purpose and significance of Zazen as well as giving concrete advice for the actual practice of Zazen, and is an indispensable work for all monks of the Sōtō School.
It deals with extremely practical matters such as the importance of moderation in eating for regulating one’s physical condition, and strictly admonishes against wearing extravagant or soiled clothing and indulging in such recreational activities as singing, dancing, and music. In addition, it also goes on to make clear that Zazen as practiced in the Sōtō School does not correspond to only ‘meditation’ as included in the ‘Three Disciplines’ of precepts, meditation and wisdom, but embraces in fact all three of these disciplines.

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選択本願念仏集/選擇本願念佛集 (Sen-cha[ja]ku-hon-gan-nen-butsu-shū)

Composed by Genkū 源空
(Taishō No. 2608)
Eng.: Senchaku Hongan Nembutsu Shū: A Collection of Passages on the Nembutsu Chosen in the Original Vow
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 12 “A COLLECTION OF PASSAGES ON THE NEMBUTSU CHOSEN IN THE ORIGINAL VOW”)
This work, generally known by its abbreviated title of Sen-cha[ja]ku-shū, is the principal work of Genkū, the founder of the Pure Land School in Japan, and it is therefore regarded as the basic text of this school. It is divided into 16 chapters and gives a detailed exposition based on quotations from the three basic sūtras of Pure Land Buddhism (Nos. 17, 18, 19), Shan-dao’s commentary on the Amitāyurdhyāna-sūtra (No. 73) and many other related works, of the thesis that nembutsu be the fundamental cause for rebirth in the Pure Land.
Owing to the fact that it contains criticism of the traditional Buddhist schools founded during the Nara and Heian Periods and presents a systematic outline of the standpoint of Pure Land Buddhism, this work met with strong criticism from the traditional Buddhist schools, and many works refuting the author’s views appeared even during his lifetime. But it proved to be the most important single literary work in the establishment of the Pure Land School as an independent school of Buddhism in Japan.

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顕浄土真実教行証文類/顯淨土眞實敎行證文類 (Ken-jō-do-shin-jitsu-kyō-gyō-shō-mon-rui)

Composed by Shinran 親鸞
(Taishō No. 2646)
Eng.: Kyōgyōshinshō: On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 27 “KYOGYOSHINSYO: ON TEACHING, PRACTICE, FAITH, AND ENLIGHTENMENT”)
This “Collection of Passages Expounding the True Teaching, Practice, and Realization of the Pure Land,” generally known as the Kyō-gyō-shin-shō (“On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Realization”), is Shinran’s masterpiece and also the basic text of the Shin School of Pure Land Buddhism. It is characterized by its many quotations taken from numerous Buddhist scriptures in order to clarify the doctrines of the Shin School; at the same time the author refrains as much as possible from adding his personal views. This work is thus an attempt by Shinran to systematize his thought by means of quotations from Buddhist scriptures.
It should be mentioned that the Shō-shin-nem-butsu-ge (“Verses on Correct Faith and nembutsu”) which was selected by Rennyo, the eighth patriarch of the Shin School, to be read daily by followers of this school (and it still is today), was taken from the closing section of the chapter ‘On Practice’ in the present work.

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歎異抄 (Tan-ni-shō)

(Taishō No. 2661)
Eng.: Tannishō: Passages Deploring Deviations of Faith
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 10 “PASSAGES DEPLORING DEVIATIONS OF FAITH/ THE LETTERS OF RENNYO”)
After the death of Shinran, the founder of the Shin School of Pure Land Buddhism, there appeared various people with differing views on the concept of ‘faith’ in the Shin School. The present “Passages Deploring Deviations of Faith” was composed in order to criticize these conflicting views and to resolve the doubts of followers of the Shin School by recording the words of Shinran and elucidating the true significance of the idea of ‘Other Power.’ It is divided into 18 sections, the first 10 of which record the teachings as heard by the author directly from Shinran; the remaining 8 sections discuss and criticize the various heterodox views.
This work is probably the most well-known Buddhist work to have been produced in Japan and has been translated into many foreign languages; but until the Meiji Period it remained unknown to the general public. There are divergent views in regard to the author, but at present it is generally held to be the work of Yuien.

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蓮如上人御文 (Ren-nyo-shō-nin-o-fumi)

Compiled by Ennyo Kōyū 圓如光融
(Taishō No. 2668)
Eng.: Rennyo Shōnin Ofumi: The Letters of Rennyo
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 10 “PASSAGES DEPLORING DEVIATIONS OF FAITH/ THE LETTERS OF RENNYO”)
This work, entitled “Letters of Master Rennyo” and also known as Go-bun-shō or simply as O-fumi, is a collection of letters written by Rennyo, the eighth patriarch of the Shin School of Pure Land Buddhism, to followers on the doctrines of the Shin School, and consists of 80 letters divided into 5 fascicles. The identity of the compiler is still a matter of uncertainty, but it is generally considered that the ninth patriarch Jitsunyo had his son Ennyo put this work together.
The contents are of a nature readily understood, and even today it is used in all sects of the Shin School for the purpose of recitation and as subject matter for sermons. There are therefore many passages which should be familiar to the modern Japanese reader.

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往生要集 (Ō-jō-yō-shū)

Composed by Genshin 源信
(Taishō No. 2682)
This “Teachings Essential for Rebirth in the Pure Land” is a collection of important passages selected from numerous Buddhist scriptures and relating to rebirth in Pure Land, the western paradise of Amitāyus. It was compiled by Genshin, a monk residing in the Eshin-in Temple on Mt.Hiei.
This work is regarded as a source-book of Buddhist thought on heaven and hell, and exerted considerable influence on posterity, not only within the Buddhist community and philosophical circles but also in the fields of literature and art. In particular, it should be noted that the concept of nembutsu propounded in this work provided the momentum leading to the establishment of the various branches of Pure Land Buddhism as independent schools. It can therefore be regarded as holding first place among the basic texts of Pure Land Buddhism.
It is divided into 10 chapters, the final chapter taking the format of questions and answers. It thus serves as a lucid introduction to the teachings of Pure Land Buddhism.

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立正安国論/立正安國論 (Ris-shō-an-koku-ron)

Composed by Nichiren 日蓮
(Taishō No. 2688)
Eng.: Risshōankokuron or The Treatise on the Establishment of the Orthodox Teaching and the Peace of the Nation
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 26 “TWO NICHIREN TEXTS”)
This “Treatise on the Establishment of the Orthodox Teaching and the Peace of the Nation” is a work representative of Nichiren, the founder of the Nichiren School, and was in fact an essay submitted to the Kamakura Shogunate. Nichiren starts by discussing the reasons for the natural and man-made disasters which had been throwing the society of the time into confusion, and then goes on assert that calamities will disappear and peace come to the country if the whole of society takes faith in the “Lotus Sūtra” (No. 12).
Nichiren was moved by a strong sense of danger, convinced that calamities were occurring because the correct teachings were absent from the land, and that Japan would be invaded by a foreign power and eventually go to ruin. He singles out in particular Pure Land Buddhism for strong criticism, and gives quotations from many scriptures in support of his views. As a result of this treatise Nichiren was eventually exiled to Izu.

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開目抄 (Kai-moku-shō)

Composed by Nichiren 日蓮
(Taishō No. 2689)
Eng.: Kaimokushō or Liberation from Blindness
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 20 “KAIMOKUSHO OR LIBERATION FROM BLINDNESS”)
Nichiren was motivated to write this, one of his representative works, as a result of the ordeals experienced during his exiles to Izu and Sado, and it represents a reappraisal of the “Lotus Sūtra” (No. 12). Kaimoku means literally ‘to open the eyes,’ the implication being that the aim of this work be to lead people still at an inferior stage of spiritual development to the essence of the supreme “Lotus Sūtra.” Since it is written in Japanese and not in classical Chinese, it is considered to have been composed by Nichiren for his lay followers.

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観心本尊抄/如來滅後五五百歳始觀心本尊抄 (Kan-jin-hon-zon-shō)

Composed by Nichiren 日蓮
(Taishō No. 2692)
Eng.: Kanjinhonzonshō or The Most Venerable One Revealed by Introspecting Our Minds for the First Time at the Beginning of the Fifth of the Five Five Hundred-year Ages (In BDK English Tripiṭaka 26 “TWO NICHIREN TEXTS”)
This work is held to be the most important text in the Nichiren School. In this work Nichiren expounds the method of and the doctrine behind kanjin-honzon, i.e. reciting the daimoku before the object of worship. Nichiren believed that the fundamental cosmic truth to be realized within the mind had been expressed as Myō-hō-ren-ge-kyō (the Japanese title of the “Lotus Sūtra” <No. 12> ) and that everything was contained within these five Chinese characters. Therefore he asserts in this work that by chanting the daimoku, i.e. Na-mu-myō-hō-ren-ge-kyō, it be possible to immerse oneself in the world of the Buddha while retaining the physical body.

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父母恩重経/父母恩重經 (Bu-mo-on-jū-gyō)

(Taishō No. 2887)
Eng.: The Sutra on the Profundity of Filial Love
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 31 “APOCRYPHAL SCRIPTURES”)
This “Sūtra on the Profundity of Filial Love” describes just how deep the love of parents for their children is, and then goes on to recommend that in order to repay this parental love one should perform the Bon ceremony (v. No. 36) and recite and copy this sūtra.
Judging from its unnatural format and rather laboured contents, it is generally considered that this sūtra was composed in China, probably as a result of Confucian influence upon Buddhism. However, it won great popularity, being even quoted in literary works, and many commentaries were written on it.

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EXTRACANONICAL WORK
八宗綱要 (Has-shū-kō-yō)

Composed by Gyōnen 凝然
Extracanonical work
Eng.: The Essentials of the Eight Traditions
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 5 “THE ESSENTIALS OF THE EIGHT TRADITIONS/ THE CANDLE OF THE LATTER DHARMA”)
This “Essentials of the Eight Traditions” gives a concise account of the history and doctrines of the eight principal Buddhist schools in existence in Japan at the time of the author, i.e. the six schools which were introduced to Japan during the Nara Period and the two schools introduced by Saichō and Kūkai during the Heian Period. This work may thus be described as an introduction to Japanese Buddhism. Fascicle 1 contains a preface and accounts of the Kusha, Jōjitsu, and Ritsu Schools, and Fascicle 2 deals with the Hossō, Sanron, Tendai, Kegon, and Shingon Schools, followed by brief comments on the Zen and Pure Land Schools.
The work takes the format of questions and answers, discussing such subjects as the name, basic scriptures, lines of transmission, and doctrines of each school. Since a brief history of the transmission of Buddhism from India via China to Japan is also included, it serves in fact as a very handy exposition of Japanese Buddhism.

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三教指帰/三敎指歸 (San-gō-shī-ki)

Composed by Kūkai 空海
Extrtcanonical work
This “Indications of the Goals of the Three Teachings” by Kūkai, the founder of the Shingon School, represents what may be called the written declaration of his intention to leave home and become a mendicant monk, and is in fact his first literary work. The original draft, called Rō-ko-shī-ki (“The Indicaition of the Goal for the Deaf and Blind”), was composed when he was 18, and he is said to have completed the present revised version at the age of 24.
The ‘Three Teachings’ refer to Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, and through a discussion of their relative merits Kūkai asserts, in an attempt to fend off criticism from family members, that becoming a Buddhist monk be in fact the true expression of filial piety.
The work as a whole is an example of fine writing, and puts in bold relief Kūkai’s potential as a man of letters.

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末法灯明記/末法燈明記 (Map-pō-tō-myō-ki)

Composed by Saichō 最澄
Extracanonical work
Eng.: The Candle of the Latter Dharma
(In BDK English Tripiṭaka 5 “THE ESSENTIALS OF THE EIGHT TRADITIONS/ THE CANDLE OF THE LATTER DHARMA”)
There is within Buddhism the idea that following Śākyamuni’s death the practice of his true teachings will gradually be neglected, passing through the three periods of ‘True Dharma,’ ‘Imitative Dharma,’ and ‘Latter Dharma.’ In the present “Treatise on the Candle of the Latter Dharma” the author asserts that, since the latter days of the Dharma are fast approaching, non-observance of the monastic precepts does not necessarily result in disqualification as a monk. This work is thus a criticism of the strict adherence by the Buddhist schools based in Nara to the rules of the Thēravāda tradition regulating monastic ordination.
This way of thinking won ready favor within the new Buddhist schools of the Kamakura Period, and many religious leaders of this period quote this work in their own writings in order to justify the state of monks in the latter days of the Dharma. Thus one can say that this work exerted considerable influence upon the attitude towards monastic discipline in later Japanese Buddhism.
However, it is still a matter of dispute whether it was in fact composed by Saichō, and the question still awaits a conclusive answer.

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十七条憲法/十七條憲法 (Jū-shichi-jō-ken-pō)

Composed by Prince Shōtoku 聖德太子
Extracanonical work
The title of this “Seventeen-Article Constitution” is given in the Nihon-shoki (“Chronicles of Japan”) as Ken-pō-jū-shichi-jō, but be that as it may, it is Japan’s oldest written law. As indicated by its name, it consists of seventeen articles, but unlike legal codes and constitutions today it is in fact a series of political and moral admonitions directed at the officials and powerful clans at the time. Emphasis is placed upon such matters as respect for imperial authority and impartial government, but the work as a whole is imbued with the spirit of Buddhism, and there are also references to Confucian ethics.
The expressions ‘Harmony is to be valued’ and ‘Pay sincere reverence to the Three Treasures’ in the first and second articles are especially famous, whilst the statement ‘Decisions on important matters


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