Item ID: 7829 [Daming] San zang fa shu [Categories of Buddhist Concepts from the Canon]. YIRU.

[Daming] San zang fa shu [Categories of Buddhist Concepts from the Canon].

Four vols. 8vo, orig. printed title labels on upper covers, orig. stitching. Shanghai: Yi xue shu ju [Shanghai Medical Press], 1923.

In the final years of the Qing dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, Chinese Buddhism experienced a revival. The bibliophilic founder of the Shanghai Medical Press, Fubao Ding (1874-1952), was active in this movement, publishing his “groundbreaking” (Scott) Ding’s Buddhist Studies Collectanea [Dingshi Foxue congshu] from 1918 to 1923, numbering about 30 titles. Many of the texts were based on Ding’s own large collection of rare books (about 150,000 volumes), reprinting ancient Buddhist texts with his own annotations, punctuation, and explanations. He focused on the lexicography of the Buddhist scriptures in order to help readers comprehend Buddhist teachings through reliance on the texts alone.

Ding reprinted the [Daming] Sanfang fashu, a collection of definitions for numbered terms, such as the three realms. The collection, beginning with terms related to the number one (such as “one mind” and “one vehicle” continued to the number 84,000 and contains a total of about 1600 entries, all with short definitions.

This text, first published in 1419, was written by Yiru (1352-1425), a Buddhist monk and abbot of the Upper Indian doctrinal temple in Hangshou (Shang tianzhu jiaosi). In 1402, Yiru was sent by the Chinese emperor to Japan and brought a Chinese compilation of rules for doctrinal temples which he presented to Rozanji. This was probably the first direct contact of Japanese monks with a representative of Chinese doctrinal temples in Japan. Later, Yiru, along with another monk, Sikuo, were responsible for the compilation and carving of both the Yongle Southern Canon and the Yongle Northern Canon, commissioned by Emperor Chengzu.

Fine set.

❧ For a really good account of Ding and his publishing activities, see Gregory Adam Scott, Conversion by the Book: Buddhist Print Culture in Early Republican China (Ph.D thesis), 2013, Chapter Four “Navigating the Sea of Scriptures: Ding’s Buddhist Studies Collectanea, 1918-1923.”.

Price: $3,250.00

Item ID: 7829

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