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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 4.1 (2021): 256–286;
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Worldmaking Programs & Tiantai/Chontae/Tendai Buddhism)

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The Tendai Use of Official Documents in the Ninth Century: Revisiting the Case of Monk Daosui

Pei-yin LIN 林佩瑩
National Chengchi University

Abstract: This article looks into ninth-century Japanese Tendai manuscripts, including official letters and certificates concerning Saichō’s 最澄 (767–822) trip to China. A particular focus is on the Kanjō Ajari senji kanchō 灌頂阿闍梨宣旨官牒 [Official Documents of the Edicts for Abhiṣeka-ācārya], a small collection of the official letters between the court and Tendai monks including Saichō and Ennin 圓仁 (794–864), which was appended to the Bukong biaozhi ji (Jp. Fukū Sanzō hyōseishū) 不空三蔵表制集, originally copied in 1087 or 1088, and is currently stored in Kyoto Shōren’in 青蓮院. These sources concentrate on the narratives about the Chinese Monk Daosui 道邃 (fl. 805). These display how the Tendai monks vindicated their rightful lineage from China. By twisting the transmission line, Monk Daosui, an obscure figure to Chinese Buddhists, was elevated to a prominent representative of the Chinese Tiantai school. These official documents from the Tendai circle illustrate a captivating story of Buddhist use of official documents in a Sino-Japan context during the ninth century.

Keywords: Saichō (767–822), Daosui, Tendai Buddhism, Fozu tongji, Taizhou


About the Author: Pei-ying Lin 林佩瑩 is currently an Assistant Professor at National Chengchi University. Her research interests are Chan Buddhism, ordination rituals, Bodhisattva precepts, and Buddhist discourse on cultural identity. She studied at Taiwan University (B.A. in Political Science, 2002), University of Cambridge (M.Phil., 2006), and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (Ph.D., 2012). Her doctoral thesis brought together a wide range of documents from ninth-century China, Japan and Korea, and cross-culturally examined the relationship between patriarchal lineages versus textual transmission at the early stage of the history of Chan Buddhism. Before joining National Chengchi University, she taught at Fu Jen University, and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at several institutions including UC Berkeley, University of Oxford, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv University.


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