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The Annals of the Ancestral Hall (Zutang ji) Study Group

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Situation Present study
Details The Annals of the Ancestral Hall 祖堂集, which predates by fifty-two years the better-known Jingde-era Record of the Lamp, is the oldest complete Zen Lamp Record known. As such it is of inestimable value as an early example of the literature of Tang-dynasty Zen, the Zen from which all modern traditions stem. In comparison with the Jingde-era Record of the Lamp, edited by the leading intellectuals of the Northern Song Dynasty, the Annals of the Ancestral Hall contains much raw material rich in rustic charm. In recent years this material has drawn attention as a resource for the study of colloquial language. The study group commenced research on the Annals of the Ancestral Hall forty years ago under the guidance of Prof. Iriya Yoshitaka and Prof. Yanagida Seizan. The results of  this work were published in 2003 by the International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism under the title Annals of the Ancestral Hall: With Notes and Japanese Readings 訓注祖堂集. The study group’s research presently centers on clarifying the background of the text by investigating the Zen masters of the Xuefeng-lineage, who were responsible for the Annals’ compilation. This year the study group will complete reading the chapter on Yunfeng in the seventh fascicle and turn its attention to the successors of Xuefeng, beginning with Xuansha Shibei and Changsheng in the tenth fascicle.
         Past Activities: This group, under its previous identity as the Tang Dynasty Recorded Sayings Study Group A, studied a wide variety of texts under the guidance of Prof. Iriya Yoshitaka and Prof. Yanagida Seizan. Listed by year, the texts were:
         1965: Dunhuang texts: Stele inscriptions related to early Northern School Zen 初期北宗関係塔銘資料; The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch 六祖壇経; Treatise Establishing the True and the False according to the Southern School of Bodhidharma 菩提達磨南宗是非論; Master Heze’s Passing of the Five Watches 荷沢和上五更転; The Platform Sermon of the Priest of Nanyang 南陽和上壇語; The Biography of the Great Master of Caoxi 曹渓大師伝他; etc.
         1966: Stele inscriptions related to Southern School Zen 南宗関係塔銘資料; Record of the Dharma Treasure through the Generations 歴代法宝記; Bodhidharma’s Gate of Contemplation 達磨禅師観門; Treatise on Awakening to One’s True Nature 悟性論; Treatise on Dharma Nature 法性論; etc.
         1967: Essential Sayings of the Ancient Masters 古尊宿語要
         1968: Essential Sayings of the Ancient Masters 古尊宿語要 (continued); Zutang ji 祖堂集.
         1969: Zutang ji (continued)
         1970: The Cessation of Notions 絶観論; Contemplation of the Mind 観心論; Treatise of Bodhidharma 達磨禅師論; Treatise on the True School of Sudden Enlightenment 頓悟真宗論; Essential Determination of the Doctrine of Admantine Wisdom According to the True Teaching of Sudden Enlightenment 頓悟真宗金剛般若達彼岸法/門要決; Sutra on the Contemplation Gate 禅門経; The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Fachang of Mount Damei 大梅山法常禅師語録; The Recorded Sayings of Dongcao 洞曹語録
         1971: The Recorded Sayings of Dongcao 洞曹語録 (continued); On Faith in Mind信心銘; Admonitions of the Great Teacher 大匠警策; Hidden Essentials of the Contemplation Gate 禅門秘要決; Ten Oxherding Pictures  十牛図; Zutang ji.
         1972-1979: Zutang ji
         1980-1990: Kanbun Treasury of the True Eye of the Dharma 真字正法眼蔵
         1991-2009: Dahui’s Treasury of the True Eye of the Dharma 大慧正法眼蔵
         2009-present: Zutang ji 祖堂集
Name of group
leader and members
Group leader: Nishiguchi Yoshio 西口芳男
Group Members:  Kinugawa Kenji 衣川賢次, Nakajima Shirō 中島志郎, Kawashima Jōmyō 川島常明, Hirota Sōgen 廣田宗玄, Matsuoka Yukako 松岡由香, Senda Sōtaku 千田宗琢, Kubo Jō 久保讓, Seo Eunjoo 徐銀柱, Eric Greene, Casper Wits, Xue Yaoxiang 薛耀祥, Kogachi Akira 古勝亮, Nakase Yūtarō 中瀬祐太朗

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