This volume brings together two influential extra-canonical works,The Essentials of the Eight Traditions and The Candle of the Latter Dharma.
The Essentials of the Eight Traditions
Essentials of the Eight Traditions gives a concise account of the history and doctrines of the eight principal Buddhist schools in existence in Japan at the time of composition (1268 C.E.). Thus the text includes the six schools which were introduced to Japan during the Nara Period and the two schools introduced by Saichō and Kūkai during the Heian Period. This work may thus be described as an introduction to Japanese Buddhism. Fascicle 1 contains a preface and accounts of the Kusha, Jōjitsu and Discipline Schools, and Fascicle 2 deals with the Hossō, Sanron, Tendai, Kegon and Shingon Schools, followed by brief comments on the Zen and Pure Land Schools. The work takes the format of questions and answers, discussing such subjects as the name, basic scriptures, lines of transmission, and doctrines of each school. Since a brief history of the transmission of Buddhism from India via China to Japan is also included, it provides a useful exposition of Japanese Buddhism.
Jp. Hasshūkōyō (八宗綱要), composed by Gyōnen. 2 fascicles.
The Candle of the Latter Dharma
There is within Buddhism the idea that following Śākyamuni’s death the practice of his true teachings will gradually be neglected, passing through the three periods of “True Law,” “Imitative Law” and “Last Law.” In The Candle of the Latter Dharma, also known as Treatise on the Lamp for the Latter Days of the Law, the author asserts that since the latter days of the Law are fast approaching, non-observance of the monastic precepts does not necessarily result in disqualification as a monk.
This work is thus a criticism of the strict adherence by the Buddhist schools based in Nara to the rules of the Hīnayāna tradition regulating monastic ordination. This way of thinking won ready favour within the new Buddhist schools of the Kamakura Period, and many religious leaders of this period quote this work in their own writings to justify the state of monks in the latter days of the Law. Thus one can say that this work exerted considerable influence upon the attitude towards monastic discipline in later Japanese Buddhism. While traditionally ascribed to Saichō, authorship of the text remains in dispute.
Jp. Mappō tōmyō ki (末法燈明記), attributed to Saichō. 1 fascicle.
Table of Contents
A Message on the Publication of the English Tripiṭaka NUMATA Yehan v
Editorial Foreword HANAYAMA Shōyū vii
Publisher’s Foreword Philip Yampolsky ix
The Essentials of the Eight Traditions Gyōnen 1-153
Translator’s Introduction Leo M. Pruden 1
Chapter I The Kusha Tradition 19
Chapter II The Jōjitsu Tradition 31
Chapter III The Ritsu Tradition 35
Chapter IV The Hossō Tradition 55
Chapter V The Sanron Tradition 75
Chapter VI The Tendai Tradition 85
Chapter VII The Kegon Tradition 99
Chapter VIII The Shingon Tradition 111
Chapter IX The Zen and Jōdo Traditions 117
A List of the Texts Mentioned in the Work 135
The Candle of the Latter Dharma Saichō 1-28
[Web Editor's Note: In this volume, pagination for each selection begins afresh and is numbered independently.]
Translator’s Introduction Robert Rhodes 1
The Candle of the Latter Dharma 5
Selected Bibliography 23
A List of the Texts Quoted in the Work 25
A List of the Volumes of the BDK English Tripiṭaka