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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 4.1 (2021): 316–355;
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Worldmaking Programs & Tiantai/Chontae/Tendai Buddhism)

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The Circulation and Reception of Tiantai Commentaries on the Vimalakīrti-sūtra in East Asia

YAMAGUCHI Hiroe 山口弘江
Komazawa University

Abstract: This study examines the creation, transmission and reception of commentaries on the Vimalakīrti-sūtra (Weimojie suoshuo jing 維摩詰所説經) in the Tiantai tradition. Zhiyi 智顗 (538–598) in his later years was responsible for penning a commentary at the request of Yang Guang 楊廣 (569–618), the future Emperor Yang 煬帝 (r. 604–618) of the Sui dynasty (581–618). Guanding 灌頂 (561–632) later attached more material. Further textual developments occurred after this point. The body of texts within Tiantai that comprise these commentaries has a complex history of transmission that extends across several centuries and countries. The history behind the loss and recovery of critical texts requires detailed study. The present study builds upon the earlier work published by Satō Tetsuei 佐藤哲英 (1902–1984) and further illustrates the multiple instances of recovery, editing and recompilation of the commentaries, a situation that extended to Japan, where Tiantai literature from the Tang period, which had otherwise been lost on the mainland, was preserved.

Keywords: Vimalakīrti-sūtra, Zhiyi, Guanding, Commentaries, Tiantai


About the Author: Yamaguchi Hiroe 山口弘江 is an Associate Professor at Komazawa University (Japan) with research interests in Chinese and Tiantai Buddhism. Her main monograph is the Tiantai Commentaries on the Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa-sūtra (2017). She received a B.A. in Indian Philosophy from Department of Letters, Tōyō University (1997) and studied at International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies (1998–2003), and received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at Komazawa University (2006) with the dissertation ‘Research on the Commentaries on the Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa-sūtra in Tiantai’. She has also studied at Renmin University of China as a state-funded foreign exchange student (Senior scholar) and worked at Geumgang Center for Buddhist Studies (Korea) as a HK Professor, connected to the research project dealing with Dilun-zong literature from Dunhuang. In addition to teaching, she is also the Secretary of the Nippon Buddhist Education Research Association.


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