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Biographies of Eminent Monks
Jeles szerzetesek élete

There are in total four books written during four different dynastic period that are called the "Biographies of eminent monks of four ages" (Sichao gaosengzhuan 四朝高僧傳), namely the (Liang) Gaosengzhuan, Tang gaosengzhuan 唐高僧傳 (i.e. Xu gaosengzhuan 續高僧傳), Song gaosengzhuan 宋高僧傳 and (Da-)Ming gaosengzhuan (大)明高僧傳.


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Contents
 

續高僧傳 / 唐高僧傳 Xu gaoseng zhuan / Tang gaoseng zhuan

宋高僧傳 Song gaoseng zhuan

PDF: Biographies of the Chan Masters
Translated by Thich Hang Dat
Hongren 釋 弘忍,
Huineng 釋慧能,
Shenxiu 釋神秀,
Shenhui 釋神會,
Xuanjue 釋玄覺

大明高僧傳 Da-Ming gaoseng zhuan

 

Buddhist writings (shijia 釋家)

The type of Buddhist writings ( shijia lei 釋家類 ) is a sub-category to the literary category of masters and philosophers (zibu 子部) in the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 . Compared to the Buddhist canon Tripitaka it includes only very few writings (only 13), mostly biographies, encyclopedias and literary writings by Chan Buddhists from the Song period 宋 (960-1279). The common feature of all Buddhist writings included in the Siku quanshu is that they were originary written in Chinese and not translated from Sanskrit. The most important are the apologetic treatise Hongmingji 弘明集 and the Chan treatise Wudeng huiyuan 五燈會元 .

 

 

續高僧傳 / 唐高僧傳 Xu gaoseng zhuan / Tang gaoseng zhuan
(Japán olvasat:) Zoku kōsōden / Tō kōsōden
(English:) Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks / Tang Biographies of Eminent Monks
(Magyar:) Tang-kori jeles szerzetesek élete

Compiled by 道宣 Daoxuan in 645 (665)

The Xu gaosengzhuan 續高僧傳 "Continued biographies of eminent monks", also known as Tang gaosengzhuan 唐高僧傳, is a collection of biographies of Buddhist monks compiled by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) monk Daoxuan 道宣. It is a sequel to Huijiao's 慧皎 book Gaosengzhuan 高僧傳 from the Liang period 梁 (502-557). The first version of the book was finished in 645, yet the transmitted 30 juan "scrolls" in fact end in the year 665. It includes not only biographies of Tang period monks but also supplements persons from the Southern and Northern Dynasties period 南北朝 (300~600) not included in Huijiao's original book, especially such from the north of China. The whole books included 498 biographies, with an appendix of 229 biographies. The structure of the chapters is the same as in the Gaosengzhuan, in which monks are grouped according to their activities and strenghts, but Daoxuan changed the names of some chapters (Shentong/yi 神通 to Gantong 感通, Wangshen 亡身 to Yishen 遺身, Songjing 誦經 to Dujing 讀經), unified the chapters Jingshi 經師 and Changdao 唱導 to the chapter Zake 雜科, and added the new chapter Hufa 護法 "Protectors of the dharma". Another difference to the Gaosengzhuan is that Daoxuan does not add laudatory poems (zan 贊) at the end of the chapters. He also included monks in his biographic collection that were still living during his time, like Huijing 慧淨, Huixu 慧休 or Fachong 法沖. The Xu gaosengzhuan is an important source of the history of Buddhism of the Southern and Northern dynasties period and its relation to politics and society. Is has been written much less care for details than the Gaosengzhuan, and some errors have crept in, like double biographies or wrong chronologies.

The Xu Gaosengzhuan is included in the Buddhist Canon Taishō Tripitaka 大正新脩大藏經 (T 2060). The most important modern edition has been published in 1991 by the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版社 as part of the the Gaosengzhuan heji 高僧傳合集.

Contents

1.-4. 譯經 Yijing Translators
5.-15. 義解 Yijie Commentators
16.-20. 習禪 Xichan Professionals in meditation (from the Chan School 禪宗, the Tiantai School 天臺宗, and the Three Stages School 三階教)
21.-22. 明律 Minglü Experts in the vinaya
23.-24. 護法 Hufa Protectors of the dharma
25.-26. 感通 Gantong Sensitivity
27. 遺身 Yishen Those leaving behind their body
28. 讀誦 Dujing/song Specialists preaching the sutras
29. 興福 Xingfu Monks arousing happiness and fortune
30. 雜科 Zake Miscellanous professionals

 

 

宋高僧傳 Song gaoseng zhuan
(Japán olvasat:) Sō kōsōden
(English:) Song Biographies of Eminent Monks
(Magyar:) Szung-kori jeles szerzetesek élete

Compiled by 贊寧 Zanning in 988

The Song gaosengzhuan 宋高僧傳 "Biographies of eminent monks compiled during the Song period", original title Da-Song gaoseng zhuan 大宋高僧傳 and also called Gao Song seng zhuan 高宋僧傳 or shortly Songzhuan 宋傳 , is a collection of biographies of Buddhist monks mainly from the Tang period 唐 (618-907) compiled by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) monk Zanning 贊寧 (919-1001). Zanning was an important monk at the Song court in Kaifeng 開封 (modern Kaifeng, Henan), where he served as a personal cleric of Emperor Taizong 宋太宗 (r. 976-997). Zanning was also an important Buddhist writer and historian.

The 30 juan "scrolls" long Song gaosengzhuan was finished in 988 and presented to the throne as a kind of official collection. It was revised in 996. The structure of the chapters is identical to the Xu gaosengzhuan 續高僧傳 by the Tang period monk Daoxuan 道宣. At the end of each chapter, Zanning added some personal comments and deliberations. The book includes the biographies of 531 persons, with an appendix of 126 persons, from the Tang to the Five Dynasties 五代 (907-960) and the early Song periods. The Song gaosengzhuan is an important source for the history of Buddhism during the Tang period and adds information that is not included in the official dynastic histories, that traditionally are very reserved towards the history of Buddhism in China. Especially noteworthy are the informations about the organisation of the translation of texts of the Tantric Schools (mizong 密宗) that came to China during the Tang period, as well as the rise of the Chan School 禪宗 (in the West better known was Zen) and its various contending branches.

The oldest print of the Song gaosengzhuan was made produced the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) by the Chan Monastery in Qisha 磧砂 (modern Wuxian 吳縣, Jiangsu) as part of the Qisha Tripitaka 磧砂版大藏經 . Some other old prints were found in 1931 in the Wolong 卧龍寺 and the Kaiyuan 開元寺 monasteries in Xi'an 西安 , Shaanxi. In 1987 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published the Song gaosengzhuan a spart of the collectaneum Zhongguo fojiao dianji xuankan 中國佛教典籍選刊. The most important modern edition has been published in 1991 by the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版社 as part of the the Gaosengzhuan heji 高僧傳合集. The Song gaosengzhuan is included in the Buddhist Canon Taishō Tripitaka 大正新脩大藏經 (T 2061). Unlike the other Gaoseng collections, the Song gaosengzhuan is included in the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

PDF: Biographies of the Chan Masters
Translated by Thich Hang Dat
Hongren 釋 弘忍,
Huineng 釋慧能,
Shenxiu 釋神秀,
Shenhui 釋神會,
Xuanjue 釋玄覺

 

 

大明高僧傳 Da-Ming gaoseng zhuan
(Japán olvasat:) Daimin kōsōden
(English:) Ming Biographies of Eminent Monks
(Magyar:) Ming-kori jeles szerzetesek élete

Compiled by 如惺 Ruxing in 1617

The Ming gaosengzhuan 明高僧傳 "Biographies of eminent monks compiled during the Ming period", original title Da-Ming gaoseng zhuan 大明高僧傳, is a collection of biographies of Buddhist monks from the Northern Song 北宋 (960-1126) to the early Ming period 明 (1368-1644) compiled by the Ming period monk Ruxing 如惺. The 8 juan "scrolls" long book was finished in 1617. Compared to the earlier Gaoseng biographies like the Gaosengzhuan 高僧傳 by the Liang period 梁 (502-557) monk Huijiao 慧皎, it is only quite short and includes only three categories of monks, namely translators (Yijing 譯經), commentators (Yijie 義解) and Chan monks (Xichan 習禪). The main text includes 112 biographies, and the appendix that of 68 further persons. The three chapters are not finished by a discussion, as in the older Gaoseng collections, probably because the compilation was not really finished when it was published. The Ming gaosengzhuan is nevertheless a valuable source for the study of Song and Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) Buddhism, an age in which the differences between the various Buddhist schools became less clearly visible.

The book was first printed during the Wanli reign 萬厲 (1573-1619) by Lengyan's 楞嚴 Banruo Studio 般若堂 in Jiaxing 嘉興, Jiangsu. It is included in the Buddhist Canon Taishō Tripitaka 大正新脩大藏經 (T 2062).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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