The Transmission of the Lamp: Early Masters.

Translate by Sohaku Ogata. Foreword by Paul F. Schmidt. Wolfeboro

Reviewed by Ding-hwa E. Hsieh

Philosophy East and West

Vol.44 No.1

Pp.180-183 Copyright by University of Hawaii Press


. P.180 In the abundant Ch'an literature of the Sung period (960-1279)inchina, the Ching-tech'uan teng-lu (Recordof the Transmission of the Lamp [Compiled during the] Ching-te [Era]) (hereaftercited as CTL)is the oldest and historically most influential of the "transmission of the lamp" (teng-lu)texts. Compiled by Tao-yuan of the line of Fa-yen WEN-1(885-958), the text was presented to Emperor Chen-tsung of the Northern Sung in 1004, the first year of the Ching-te era,and published under imperial partonage in 1011. Its thirt fascicles narrate chronologically the lives and teachings of the significant figures associated with Ch'an Buddhism, from the legendary Buddhas and ancient patriarchs to the heirs of the Fa-yen lineage in the tenth century--altogether 1,701 persons of about 52 generations. The CTL consists of about 1,700 "public cases" (kung-an),each containing the encounter dialogues (chi-yuanwen-ta)between Ch'an masters and their disciples. For the later "public cases" anthologies, the sayings and doings of the eminent Ch'an masters recorded in the CTL were the main sources. P.181 Sohaku Ogata(1901-1973), about of Chotokuin, Shokokuji, of Kyoto, had been engaged in the translation of Tao-yuan's text,but he did not finish the whole task before his death. The present translation, which was made from the Taisho Tripitaka(1928), based on the Yuan edition of 1317, is therefore of only the first ten tascicles, one-third of Tao-yuan's text. Preceded by a translation of the preface written by Yang I (974-1020),Ogata'sbookisdivided intoten prts: 1. the seven ancient Buddhas and the early fourteen patriarchs of India; 2. the late thirteen patriachs of India; 3. the patriarchs of China, from Bodhidharma, the twenty-eighth patriarch of India, to Hung-jen(600-674) , the fifth patriarch of China; 4. the enlightened masters of the Niu-t'ou School founded by Fajung (594-657) and of the Northern School led by Shen-hsiu (606?-706) ; 5. Ch'an masters of the Southern School, beginning with the sixth patriarch Hui-neng (638-713)and ending with Ho-tse Shen-hui (684-758) ; 6--10. Dharma heirs of Nan-yueh Huai-jang (677-744),from Ma-tsu Tao-i (709-788) and his followers to the heirs of Ma-tsu's disciples--Po-chang Huai-hai (749-814) and Nan-ch'uan P'u-yuan (748-834), and so forth. On the whole, Ogata's translation can hardly be considered a grade contribution to scholarship. First of all, he does not provide his readers with a detailed introduction to the CTL and its author, Tao-yuan. Secondly, there are no notes or scholarly apparatus which might indicate Ogata's own critcal research on the text. thirdly, the accompanying annotation to certain spec ifit Ch'an terms or expressions is insufficient and hence further hinders the reader's understanding or appreciation of this significant Ch'an text. In addition, not only are there too many misprints and mechanical errors, but also many words are mistranscribed by Ogata. To mention just a few of them: Fa-yung of the Niu-t'ou School (p.89) should be read as Fa-jung; Shen-hui of Ho-che(p.184) should be Shen-hui of Ho-tse; Master Yu Chuan of Shao(p.278) should be Ju-yuan of Shao(see T 2076.51.260c29) ; Ch'ien-wei of Ch'ien(p.322) should be Ch'u-wei of Ch'ien (T 51.269a8); Mount Ch'un-nan should be Mount Chung-nan; of(the Buddha) is misread as fu; hung(red) is misread as kang; ta (big or great) is sometimes mistaken as t'ai; chueh(enlightenment) is mispronounced as chiao; and so forth.