Kiben=基辨; eight cases=八囀聲; Hossō school=法相宗; Buddhist hermeneutics=佛教詮釋學; Edo period=江戶時代
The present article is a preliminary study of a little known treatise called Kango hattenshō gakusoku 漢語八囀聲學則 (Guidelines for Studying the Eight Cases of the Chinese Language) written by Kiben (基辨, 1718-1792), a scholarly priest of the Japanese Buddhist Hossō school. The concept of "eight cases" is derived from medieval Chinese accounts of Sanskrit grammar where it refers to the patterns of noun declension. However, Kiben did not apply this category to Sanskrit, but rather to literary Chinese (kango 漢語), the language of Buddhist sutras and doctrinal treatises studied by contemporaneous Japanese monks. Whereas this idea may appear questionable from a linguistic point of view, Kiben's treatise deserves attention as the product of a well-established intellectual tradition rooted in the historical context of early modern Japan. The present article aims to make clear why someone working within this tradition decided to turn to ancient Indian grammatical theory in a creative way that appears so unusual. It will attempt to extract the author's main argument from the philological technicalities in which it is seated and to analyse it from the viewpoint of intellectual history-namely, the inspirations Kiben received from his predecessors, his polemical targets, and the reactions of his target audience. It is argued that Kiben regarded the eight cases as universal categories common to all languages and believed that knowledge of these categories could aid Japanese exegetes in reconstructing the true meaning of the Chinese texts they studied. In this way he related the study of grammar to some of the most important intellectual trends of his age: the development of distinctly Japanese methods of philological inquiry into Chinese texts and of distinctly Japanese interpretations of the shared East Asian tradition. For this reason, this obscure work represents a remarkable attempt at "domesticating" the Indian tradition of linguistics in the intellectual setting of early modern East Asia.
1. Introductory remarks - why is Kiben’s treatise important? 271 2. The background and the main argument of the Guidelines… 277 3. The eight cases of the Chinese language—an attempt at interpretation 283 (1) The first case (nominative, taishō 體聲)—as in ‘what is worldly’. 284 (2) The second case (accusative or rather agentive,32 gōshō 業聲)—as in ‘create what is worldly’. 284 (3) The third case (instrumental, gushō 具聲)—as in ‘by the means of what is worldly’. 285 (4) The fourth case (dative, ishō 為聲)—as in ‘for the sake of what is worldly’. 285 (5) The fifth case (ablative, inshō 因聲)—as in ‘because of what is worldly’. 285 (6) The sixth case (genitive, zokushō 屬聲)—as in ‘belong to what is worldly’. 285 (7) The seventh case (locative, oshō 於聲)—as in ‘based in what is worldly’. 285 (8) The eighth case (vocative, koshō 呼聲). 286 4. Doubts and clarifications 294 (1) Assuming that the particle in question represents the third (instrumental) case (‘by’, ‘with the use of’) 297 (2) Assuming that it represents the fourth (dative) case (‘in order to’, ‘for the sake of’) 297 (3) Assuming that it represents the seventh (locative) case (‘be at’) 297 5. Conclusion 301 Abbreviations 304 Bibliography 304