Studies in the textual history and editorial practices of the Zǔtáng jí 祖堂集 and the Jǐngdé chuándēng lù 景德傳燈錄.

Start - End 
2015 - 2022 (ongoing)
Department of Languages and Cultures
Research Period 
Research Region 
Research Methodology 
Additional tags 
Chinese Buddhism
Chán Buddhism
Zen Buddhism



This project examines aspects of the textual history and literary characteristics of the two earliest, fully extant multilineal lamp records of the Chán Buddhist tradition: (1) the Zǔtáng jí 祖堂集 (Collection of the Patriarchal Hall , K.1503), and (2) the Jǐngdé chuándēng lù 景德傳燈錄 (Jǐngdé [era] Record of the Transmission of the Lamp , T51n2076). 

The primary objectives of this study are to advance our understanding of the layered compilation of the Zǔtáng jí and to clarify its relationship with previous Chán Buddhist literature. Second, the study aims to investigate the editorial policies and practices (e.g., narrative framework, structure, style, language) of the two records and determine how variations and successive reformulations of shared textual units have impacted the literary and religious representations of Chán figures and lineages in the texts.

From a methodological point of view, the study is grounded in traditional philology and literary criticism. However, the project further integrates approaches from Digital Humanities through the production of XML/TEI-based diplomatic and regularized editions of selected fragments of the Zǔtáng jí and related manuscripts (e.g., S.1635), as well as approaches from Social Network Analysis with visualizations through Gephi. These materials are gradually made available on the website of the Database of Medieval Chinese Texts (Ghent University & Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts 法鼓文理學院).

The general structure of the Ph.D. thesis is as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Chán master Jìngxiū's 淨修禪師 preface to the "original" Zǔtáng jí in one juàn 卷 (mid-tenth century).
  • Chapter 2: Gwangjun's 匡儁 preface to the Zǔtáng jí in twenty juàn (1245 Goryeo 高麗 edition).
  • Chapter 3: The Quánzhōu Qiānfó xīnzhù zhūzǔshī sòng 泉州千佛新著諸祖師頌 (Eulogies for the Patriarchs newly composed by Qiānfó [Dèng] of Quánzhōu; Or.8210/S.1635) and its relationships with the Zǔtáng jí.
  • Chapter 4: The Zǔtáng jí and its relationship with the Bǎolín zhuàn 寶林傳: the entries of Ānanda 阿難 and Huáiràng 懷讓, with analysis of relevant sources (e.g., the Jīnzàng 金藏 edition of the Bǎolín zhuàn, the Shèngzhòu jí 聖胄集 (S.4478), the Keitoku dentō shōroku 景德傳燈抄錄).
  • Chapter 5: The Zǔtáng jí and the Jǐngdé chuándēng lù : the Niútóu School 牛頭宗 and Northern School 北宗 sections, with analysis of relevant sources (e.g., the Juéguān lùn 絕觀論, the Chuándēng yùyīng jí 傳燈玉英集). The entries examined are determined based on the Zǔtáng jí.
  • Chapter 6: The regional flourishing of Xuěfēng's 雪峰 disciples in Fújiàn 福建 province, with a focus on Quánzhōu 泉州 and the Zhāoqìng monastery 招慶寺. Entries examined: Chángqìng Huìléng 長慶慧稜, Bǎofú Cóngzhǎn 保福從展, Zhāoqìng Dàokuāng 招慶道匡, Zhāoqìng Xǐngdèng 招慶省僜. This Chapter integrates approaches from HSNA and visualizations through Gephi.
  • (Chapter 7: From Xíngsī 行思 to Xuěfēng 雪峰: delineating and shaping the patriarchs in the ZTJ and the JDCDL: entries of Qīngyuán Xíngsī 青原行思, Shítóu Xīqiān 石頭希遷, Tiānhuáng Dàowù 天皇道悟, Lóngtán Chóngxìn 龍潭崇信, Déshān Xuānjiàn 德山宣鑑, Xuěfēng Yìcún 雪峰義存).


Phd Student(s)