Cover for the Collection for the Propagation and Clarification of Buddhism
BDK America
Publish Date: 
Sengyou, as Compiler
Harumi Hirano Ziegler


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This is Volume I of The Collection for the Propagation and Clarification of Buddhism, widely known as an invaluable source to examine the early development of Chinese Buddhism and how this foreign religion was accepted and adopted in Chinese society. A notable aspect of this work is that Buddhist tenets are explained using Confucian and Daoist terminology. While the Collection is a Buddhist work from chiefly the fourth and fifth centuries, it also serves well as a primary source for studies of contemporary Daoism.

Volume I comprises fascicles 1-7 of the text; Volume II includes remaining fascicles 8-14.

From laypeople and monks, responses to anti-Buddhist sentiment in Fourth to Sixth Century China


As noted in the Translator's Introduction, Sengyou believed that "The Way is propagated by people, and the teaching is clarified by literature.”

Taishō 2102

Volume 52

The Collection for the Propagation and Clarification of Buddhism

This work is a compilation by the Vinaya master Shi Sengyou (445–518) of discourses, correspondence, reports to the emperor, family codes, written appeals by Buddhist laypeople and monks, and responses to Anti-Buddhist critiques, dating from the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420) through the mid sixth century of the Liang Dynasty (502-557). These writings were intended to protect the Buddhist Dharma from criticisms by Confucians and Daoists and the political powers of the time, as well as in order to promulgate Buddhism. By collecting literary works from distinctive scholars of former ages that were intended to dispel wrong views toward Buddhism, Sengyou hoped to disperse doubts in his own time.

Ch. Hongming ji (弘明集), compiled by Shi Sengyou. 14 fascicles.

Table of Contents

A Message on the Publication of the English Tripiṭaka  NUMATA Yehan    
Editorial Foreword   MAYEDA Sengaku    vii
Publisher’s Foreword    A. Charles Muller    ix
Translator’s Introduction   Harumi Hirano Ziegler   xv

The Collection for the Propagation and Clarification of Buddhism, Volume I

Fascicle One

Preface 3
Mouzi’s [Discourse on] the Elucidation of Delusions (Lihuolun), or the Exposition by Mouzi Bo, Governor of Cangwu Prefecture 5
The Discourse to Correct Faulty Accusations [against Buddhism] (Zhengwulun) by an Anonymous Writer 37

Fascicle Two

The Discourse to Clarify Buddhism (Mingfolun) by Zong Bing of the Jin Dynasty 49

Fascicle Three

The Discourse to Explain the [Buddhist] Way (Yudaolun) by Sun Chuo 91
Response to He Chengtian’s Letter by Layman Zong Bing: The Criticism on the Discourse on Buddhist Laymen and Clergy (Baiheilun) 100
He’s Letter to Zong 100
Zong’s Response to He’s Letter 101
The Elucidation of the Criticism on [the Discourse on] the Equality of Good (Junshanlun) (i.e., the Discourse on Buddhist Laymen and Clergy) by He Chengtian  107
Response to He of Hengyang, the Criticism on the Elucidation of the Discourse on Buddhist Laymen and Clergy by Zong Bing 115
He’s Second Response to Zong 122

Fascicle Four

The Discourse on the Full Understanding of Life (Daxinglun) by He Chengtian 125
The Expatiation of the Discourse on the Full Understanding of Life of He of Hengyang by Yan Yanzhi 127
Response to Yan of Yongjia 129
The Second Expatiation to He of Hengyang 132
The Second Response to Yan of Yongjia 138
The Third Expatiation to He of Hengyang 144

Fascicle Five

The Discourse on Regeneration (Gengshenglun) by Luo Junzhang 161
Sung Changsha’s Letter [to Luo Junzhang] by Anguo (Sun Sheng) 162
Response to Sun [Sheng] 163
The Discourse on the Immortality of the Spirit (Shen bumielun) by Zheng Daozi 164
The New Discourse on Body and Spirit by Huan Junshan 170
The Discourse on Why Śramaṇas Do Not Bow to the Sovereign (Shamen bujing wangzhelun) by Dharma Teacher [Hui]yuan 174

  • Section One: Lay Buddhists 175
  • Section Two: The Buddhist Clergy 177
  • Section Three: Those Who Pursue the Ultimate Law of Nature Do Not Follow the Principle of the Mutation [of Birth and Death in the Phenomenal World] 178
  • Section Four: Those Who Have Mastered the Ultimate Way Do Not Respond to the World by Serving Both [for Relief by Politics and Emancipation by Religion] 180
  • Section Five: The Body is Mortal but the Spirit is Immortal 183

The Discourse on the Śramaṇa’s Robe Worn with a Bared Shoulder (Shamen tanfulun) by Dharma Teacher [Hui]yuan 190
A Criticism by He [Wuji], Zhennan [General] 192
Dharma Teacher [Hui]yuan’s Response [to He] 193
The Discourse on the Clarification of Reward and Retribution (Ming baoyinglun) by Dharma Teacher [Hui]yuan, Responding to Huan [Xuan] of Nanjun 196
The Discourse on Three Periods of Reward and Retribution (Sanbaolun), Composed for Those Who Doubt That There is No Testimony of [Reward or Retribution] Corresponding to Good or Bad Conduct, by Dharma Teacher [Hui]yuan 202

Fascicle Six

The Discourse to Elucidate the Refutation (Shibolun) by Shi Daoheng 207
The Discourse to Rectify [the Argument on] the Two Teachings (Zheng erjiaolun) by Ming Zhengjun 221
Family Law (Menlü) by Zhang Rong and the Criticism by Zhou [Yong, Director of] Shan 230
A Letter Given to He [Dian], He [Yin], Kong [Zhigui], Kong [Zhongzhi], and Zhou [Yong, Director of] Shan, Shanci 230
Response to Zhang’s Letter Together with Questions to Zhang 231
The Second Letter Given to Zhou with Answers to His Questions 234
The Second Response and Further Questions by Zhou Yong 239
Letter to the Daoist Gu [Huan] by Xie Zhenzhi 245
The Second Letter Given to the Daoist Gu 251

Fascicle Seven

Critique of the Daoist Gu’s Discourse on the Non-Chinese and the Chinese by Zhu Zhaozhi, Attendant-in-Ordinary 257
Doubts about the Discourse on the Non-Chinese and the Chinese and Inquiries to the Daoist Gu by Zhu Guangzhi 265
The Disputation on the Daoist Gu’s Discourse on the Non-Chinese and the Chinese by Huitong at Yecheng [Temple] 273
The Discourse on the Western Tribe and China (Rong hualan), Breaking the Daoist Gu’s Discourse on the Non-Chinese and the Chinese, by Shi Sengmin at Guangling 282

Notes 289
Glossary 323
Bibliography 331
Index 335
A List of the Volumes of the BDK English Tripiṭaka (First Series) 361