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Genres of Buddhist Commentarial Literature in Medieval China
Author Li, Si-long (著)
Source International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture=국제불교문화사상사학회
Volumev.31 n.2
Pages59 - 77
PublisherInternational Association for Buddhist Thought and Culture
Publisher Url
LocationSeoul, Korea [首爾, 韓國]
Content type期刊論文=Journal Article
NoteAuthor Affiliations: Professor of Chinese Buddhism and the history of Chinese religions
at Peking Universit
Keywordyi=exegesis; lun=treatise; shu=commentaries; types of Buddhist scripture-interpretation literature; Buddhist hermeneutics
AbstractIn the Northern and Southern Dynasties, there were many types of Buddhist scriptureinterpretation literature, including xuanyi 玄義, xuanlun 玄論, yishu 義疏, yizhang 義章, etc. These exegetical forms are related to Chinese traditional literary style, but mainly inherit the tradition of Indian Buddhist hermeneutics. In this paper, all such types would be summarized as yi ( 義, exegesis), lun ( 論, treatise) and shu ( 疏, commentaries), which are described as follows.
The style of yi is related to the interpretation tradition of the Confucian classic Spring and Autumn Annals, which finds two variants in the interpretation of Buddhist scriptures. The first is yizhang as the general interpretation of Buddhist ideas, such as Dasheng yizhang by Jingying Huiyuan, and the second is xuanyi as the general exegesis of a Buddhist scripture, such as Fahua xuanyi by Zhiyi.
Lun for Buddhist treatises is the same term used for Chinese traditional treatise lun, but its connotation mainly derives from Indian Buddhist hermeneutics. There are two variants of this style, one is a general interpretation, such as the Dasheng xuanlun by Jizang, and the other is general exegesis, such as Fahua xuanlun by Jizang. Sometimes, this style is also titled with yizhang and xuanyi.
Shu as a genre of literature, which is related to Chinese tradition of classical annotation, usually means record, classification, and interpretation of various commentaries. When interpreting Buddhist scriptures, this genre explains Buddhist scriptures from the perspective of yi and is later called yishu, such as in Qixin lun yishu by the author Jingying Huiyuan. It is often also referred to as yiji 義記, jijie 集解 or wenju 文句.
Yi and lun are actually the same style or genre, typically having a small number of volumes (juan 卷, rolls or scrolls) and focusing on a few profound meanings. There are many examples of yishu that had such a wide influence that the term changed to become zhangshu 章疏—together with yizhang—since the Tang dynasty. In the history of Chinese Buddhism, yi and lun gradually faded out while zhangshu continued to be produced. This change is an indication that the focus of Chinese Buddhism shifted from Indian Buddhist scriptures to Chinese patriarchal works deriving from Buddhist schools, such as Tiantai, Huayan, Chan, and Pure Land Buddhism.

Table of contentsAbstract 60
Introduction: Yi and the Basic Forms of Literature Interpreting Buddhist Scriptures 61
Lun as a New Chinese Literary Genre with Indian Argumentation Style 64
From Yishu to Zhangshu 68
Conclusion The Highly Regarded Works of the Chinese Patriarchs 72
Notes 74
Abbreviations 75
References 75
ISSN15987914 (P)
Created date2022.02.20
Modified date2022.02.20

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