Palumbo on Storch, 'The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography: Censorship and Transformation of the Tripitaka'

Author: 
Tanya Storch
Reviewer: 
Antonello Palumbo

Tanya Storch. The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography: Censorship and Transformation of the Tripitaka. Amherst: Cambria Press, 2014. 266 pp. $109.99 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-60497-877-3.

Reviewed by Antonello Palumbo (SOAS, University of London) Published on H-Buddhism (April, 2017) Commissioned by Gregory A. Scott

Just like “nirvana” or “sutra,” the word “Tripitaka” is one of those items of Buddhist vocabulary that, shorn of diacritics, have made their way into standard English. The Collins dictionary online, for example, defines it as “the three collections of books making up the Buddhist canon of scriptures,”[1] and although this only really matches the threefold corpus in Pali of the Theravādin, the term is often extended, even among scholars, to somewhat differently arranged collections in other languages and traditions. Prominent among these imagined Tripitakas is the series of Buddhist canons in Chinese.[2] In the book under review, Tanya Storch explores their shifting shapes and nature in the age of manuscript transmission, by means of a comprehensive discussion of the scriptural catalogues produced before the advent of printed editions of the canon in the late tenth century CE. That Chinese Buddhist bibliography should receive here the first monograph-length treatment in English is one of several reasons to welcome this volume, which makes ample room for excursions into other traditions—Confucian, Christian, Hellenistic—and expressly appeals to a readership with comparative interests in the world’s scriptures, beyond Sinology and Buddhist Studies.

The book opens in chapter 1 with a discussion of Confucian bibliography, and it is in fact one of its central arguments that Chinese Buddhist cataloguers heavily relied on Confucian standards in the making of their canon. Storch notes several parallels between the scriptural taxonomies that scholars like Liu Xiang 劉向 (79–8 BCE), Liu Xin 劉歆 (46 BCE–23 CE), and Ban Gu 班固 (32–92 CE) established during the Han dynasty, sanctioning those classics that could be traced to Confucius, and the catalogues that Buddhist monastic leaders such as Dao’an 道安 (312–385) and Sengyou 僧祐 (445–518) produced centuries later, in an attempt to set the Buddha’s word on a similar foothold of orthodoxy and authenticity before the social elite. This conscious emulation contrasts with the cavalier treatment that Confucian historians, argues Storch, accorded to Buddhist scriptures in the bibliographic treatise attached to the Sui shu 隋書 (656).

The thesis of a Confucian model returns across the extensive narrative that unfolds from chapters 2 to 5, where twenty-four Buddhist scriptural catalogues dated between the third and the eighth centuries are examined in detail, with a further appendix at the end of the book offering a convenient synopsis of their features. Anyone working on Chinese Buddhism from the Han to the Tang will be familiar with those of them that are extant (all but one of these are collected in volume 55 of the Taishō canon), although no more than a few scholars will likely have even heard of the more than half that are not. Storch has interesting things to say about both groups, often challenging received wisdom. I shall defer, for now, discussing with what success this has been done, though I might mention here the author’s positions that stray from the consensus. Pivotal to her revision is an outspoken endorsement of the Lidai sanbao ji 歷代三寶紀 (T.2034), a work mixing Buddhist historiography and bibliography (and including lists of previous Buddhist catalogues), which the defrocked monk Fei Zhangfang 費長房 (fl. 562–598) completed in 598.[3] While this source is notorious for its numerous inconsistencies and inaccuracies, Storch bravely sets out to restore its credibility, and builds on its inventory of catalogues from the late first century BCE to the sixth century CE for her reconstruction.[4] She accepts the historicity and authenticity of all but the first two of these works, which are mostly lost and only known through Fei’s scattered references, notably of those attributed to the monks Zhu Shixing 朱士行 (fl. 260–282), Zhu Fahu 竺法護 (a.k.a. Dharmarakṣa, 229–306?), and Zhi Mindu 支敏度 (fl. ca. 290–326) as well as to the lay devotee Nie Daozhen 聶道真 (fl. 289–291). Buddhist bibliography is thus presented as a thriving business already long before the authoritative scriptural records that Dao’an compiled in the 370s, which, albeit also lost, largely survive in excerpts within Sengyou’s Chu sanzang ji ji 出三藏記集, and are generally regarded as the first systematic catalogue of Buddhist translations in China. Why is it, then, that Sengyou, at the beginning of the sixth century, does not make any reference to those precedents, since he rather seems to revere Dao’an as the one father of Buddhist librarianship? Here Storch puts forth another somewhat unusual view: Sengyou deliberately ignored earlier catalogues, which he must have known, out of ideological concerns. Far from being the staid and overall trustworthy bibliographer many of us thought he was, the author of the Chu sanzang ji ji would have been driven chiefly by a zeal for orthodoxy, witnessed in part by his authorship of a major compendium of Buddhist apologetics, the Hongming ji 弘明集, and his involvement in two cases of book inquisition against inspired sūtras and their Chinese forgers. Storch sees Sengyou and his paragon Dao’an as sharing the same idea of the canon: both of them fastidious in their effort to tell apart the genuine from the spurious, and yet both swayed by Confucian standards that would lead them to authenticate Buddhist texts generically as scriptures (jing 經), without distinction of basket or genre, as long as a date and transmitter could be assigned to them. Their approach contrasts markedly with the visions of the canon that other Buddhist bibliographers would uphold from the fifth century onward, dwelling instead on broad doctrinal divisions. Already before Sengyou, for example, the lost Bielu 別錄, probably compiled in southern China under the Liu Song dynasty (420–479), propounds an entirely novel scriptural taxonomy foregrounding the Mahāyānist notion of the Three Vehicles—a model, I shall add, it would have been interesting to discuss against contemporary breakthroughs, such as the rise of Chinese Buddhist doxographies (the so-called panjiao 判教 systems) or the emergence of a Taoist canon ostensibly inspired by the same concept.[5]

Readers should see as particularly significant the developments in Buddhist bibliography under the Liang dynasty (502–557), which are the topic of chapter 3. Here Storch captures well the tension between two competing models of librarianship, monastic and imperial, respectively represented by Sengyou and by court monks such as Sengshao 僧紹 (fl. 515–516) and Baochang 寶唱 (b. ca. 466 – d. after 517). Although the catalogues that the latter produced under the aegis of the devout emperor Wudi 武帝 (r. 502–549) are no longer extant, especially the Zhongjing mulu 眾經目錄 by Baochang is likely to have been a far more influential work in its century than the Chu sanzang ji ji. Judging from its surviving table of contents, Baochang’s catalogue, unlike Sengyou’s, was chiefly structured along the fault line between Great and Small Vehicle, but it also made room for a number of additional rubrics—vinaya, commentaries, avadānas, spells, and more—whose original rationale is bound to remain hidden from us, although it seems so strongly reminiscent of the encyclopedic outlook of the Japanese scholars behind the modern Taishō daizōkyō.[6]

What happens next is somehow contradictory. Baochang’s subservience to the Liang throne did not go down well with the Buddhist community, which let his catalogue fall into oblivion, while continuing the transmission of the Chu sanzang ji ji. Yet his imperial blueprint for the canon was to carry the day eventually. In the late sixth century, under the Sui dynasty, Buddhism rose to prominence as a religious ideology for the newly unified empire. Buddhist bibliography received unprecedented impetus as a consequence, and four comprehensive catalogues were produced in slightly more than two decades, between 594 and 617. Chapter 4 discusses them again in detail, and with an expected focus on the Lidai sanbao ji, a work Storch compares with some reason to Eusebius’s History of the Church and to the Pali Dīpavasa (both these fourth-century sources are in fact similarly unreliable, but that is another story). Fei Zhangfang’s invention was to line up dynastic history and Buddhist catalogue in a common narrative: each dynasty had its own translations and translators, so that the political legitimacy of the former would reflect upon the bibliographic legitimacy of the latter, and would often sanction texts that earlier compilers had labeled as suspicious or false. At the same time, Fei also made room in his work for a shorter list of “titles entering the repository” (ruzang mu 入藏目), which may have been the first attempt to establish a normative catalogue for an actual canon of extant manuscripts, rather than a general bibliography without a specific library counterpart. This section roughly followed the “double Tripiṭaka” structure laid out in a slightly earlier Sui catalogue, the Zhongjing mulu 眾經 by Fajing 法經 and others (T.2146, completed in 594), which envisaged separate Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna collections of sūtra, vinaya, and abhidharma.

Gauged against the flurry of innovation in Buddhist bibliography during the short-lived Sui dynasty, the three centuries of the Tang do not live up to their lingering reputation as the golden age of Chinese Buddhism, as Storch is careful to point out in chapter 5. The monastic community had to barter the considerable privileges that imperial patronage would shower especially on its elite against growing limitations to its social and cultural autonomy under state control. Buddhist bibliography was a clear party to this trend. Several catalogues were produced, but the one monument emerging from the period is the Kaiyuan Shijiao lu 開元釋教錄, which the monk Zhisheng 智昇 completed in 730. With its twenty scrolls it was the longest to date, and it was to remain as the single most authoritative inventory of Buddhist scriptures up to and beyond the introduction of printed canons during the Song. Storch ascribes this success to the fact that Zhisheng’s work was “the most perfect synthesis” of centuries of bibliographic practice (p. 123), although above all it followed the model set by the Lidai sanbao ji, with a long dynastic chronology of translations in its first part and a normative catalogue at the end arranged along the sixfold structure of its predecessor. A separate version of this last part was in circulation at the end of the dynasty, with the momentous novelty of the sequence of characters from the Qian zi wen 千字文 (The Thousand Character Text), a widely known primer, added as shelf-marks to locate the manuscript folders in the repository. This was the swan song of Chinese Buddhist bibliography: catalogues had finally morphed from visions of an ideal canon into views of an actual collection, and a rather rigid one at that. As Storch observes (p. 131), the printings of the canon from the late tenth century would finally seal this process, making redundant the very exercise of cataloguing that had been so crucial to the enforcement of orthodoxy in the manuscript tradition.[7] Prior to this, however, she also notes the declining importance of catalogues under the Tang in connection to the rise of Chinese Buddhist schools, each of which would rather rely on their own sets of scriptures.

The final sections of the book zoom out toward those comparative discussions announced at the outset as one of its aims. Chapter 6 dwells on translators and the narratives on their lives: more hagiographies than biographies, often larded with accounts of prodigies, these documents are less interested in the rendition of Indic sūtras into Chinese than in the religious charisma of their protagonists, who emerge from them as similar in many respects to the Christian apostles. Storch aptly stresses the significance of these stories as a subplot to the canon, decisive as they were in the construction of scriptural authority. The last chapter expands on this perspective with a brief exploration of early Christian and Hellenistic bibliography. Predictably, Buddhist catalogues in China are found to be considerably closer to the former in view of their common apologetic intent. Slightly less expected in this comparison is the “theological mind” that Storch sees as distinguishing Confucian scriptural collections from their Greco-Roman counterparts (p. 182).

The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography ends on a number of paradoxes: that no fixed canon preexisted its bibliographic creation in China, that translation was a composite task involving multiple actors, and that “Chinese Tripitaka” is much of a misnomer in view of the actual historical shapes of the canon. None of them is entirely novel, to be sure, and the author could have found a perhaps more forceful conclusion in her earlier observation that contrary to a widely held opinion, “the Chinese Tripitaka”—she does seem to endorse the expression after all—“was not an entirely open canon,” for although “a gigantic body of texts” was indeed included, this was filtered and balanced “through a highly critical process of selection and taxonomic classification” (p. 127).

Finally, is this a good book, and who should read it? Its core idea is no doubt excellent, and the extensive summary I have offered above will hopefully testify to the richness of its content and perspective. The general reader will come away from it with a good sense of the fluid nature of the Buddhist canon in medieval China and of the ideological transactions that led to its evolving conceptions and formats. A number of lost catalogues, some very important, have been here retrieved from obscurity and brought to bear on this grand narrative. Many of the author’s insights and her comparative forays into other traditions will capture the attention of anyone interested in issues of textual orthodoxy and canonicity, beyond Buddhism and indeed religious studies.

There are, however, significant problems in the scholarship behind this volume that no serious reviewer can gloss over. On too many occasions I found it to say things that the sources do not really warrant, either because they have been misread, or ignored, or considerably stretched. The same applies to the author’s use of the scholarly literature, or her lack thereof. Some of these issues concern statements and points of detail that do not overly affect the book’s main arguments; in other cases, claims of some consequence are made that do not bear scrutiny.

Perhaps the author’s frequent inaccuracy with dates will only bother sticklers for chronological precision, who will note, for example, that the Kaiyuan Shijiao lu was completed in 730, not in 739 (pp. 116, 117, 206, 207); the Zhenyuan xinding Shijiao mulu in 800, not in 794 (pp. 117, 208); or that Dao’an’s life (312–385) could not have “coincided with the brutal situation ... following the collapse of the Han dynasty in 220” (p. 30), rather with that after the fall of the Western Jin in 311; or that several references in the bibliography are misdated or incorrect, most extremely with the volume Buddhism across Boundaries: Chinese Buddhism and the Western Regions, published a first time in print in 1999 by the Fo Guang Shan Foundation for Buddhist & Culture Education, Taiwan, and in a slightly different electronic version in 2012 within the Sino-Platonic Papers series, but of which no edition appeared in 2004 at the University of Hawai‘i Press, as Storch has it in her bibliography (p. 216), and yet the last named publisher firmly denies.[8]

Repeated oversights in the handling of numbers in the sources will likewise be seen mostly as venial, except perhaps when they bear on the understanding of those sources, as when Storch claims that Zhiguo’s catalogue (one of the four produced under the Sui dynasty), in a significant shift from Fei Zhangfang, marked a dramatic preference for Mahāyāna scriptures against those of the Small Vehicle, since it listed only 87 titles of the latter against 617 of the former (p. 101). As it turns out, the smaller number in the Sui shu is not 87 but 487, which conveys a somewhat different picture.[9] It may also elicit the Sinologist’s perplexity that the monk Fotudeng’s 佛圖澄 name should be parsed as Fo Tudeng and then simply Tudeng (pp. 158, 159), or that the Northern Liang king Juqu Mengxun 沮渠蒙遜 should be disguised as Meng Sun (p. 154), or that the personal name of the Japanese scholar Nanjō Bun’yū 南条文雄 should be consistently misspelled as Bunyō (p. xxii and passim).

That Chinese characters should not be used in the text except to some extent in the appendix is less than ideal, although it is consistent with the author’s stated intention to reach out to a wider readership. The same holds for her decision to give Sanskrit terms in simplified transliteration and without diacritics, providing instead the correct spelling in a glossary (pp. xv–xvi, although here too one finds hiccups: Dharmakśema? Dharmaguptākā?). That references should in several instances be inaccurate, or incomplete, or altogether missing, is again something that might come down to hasty proofreading. These are all quibbles, to be sure, which are unlikely to worry at least the general comparativist reader to whom this book is also addressed. Even that reader, however, will want to know whether Storch’s narrative is to be trusted after all, and it is in this respect that more serious perplexities arise.

One general problem is that very little of the substantial scholarship on Chinese Buddhist catalogues is here taken into account. In the introduction (pp. xxii–xxiii), Storch dispatches this literature with a name list of scholars, especially Chinese and Japanese, whose studies and findings are, however, practically nowhere considered in her discussions. Had she actually engaged the work of, say, Hayashiya Tomojirō 林屋友次郎, Tokiwa Daijō 常盤大定, Naitō Ryūō 內藤龍雄, or Tan Shibao 譚世保 rather than leaving them as mere entries in the bibliography, at least some of the issues I note below would arguably have been avoided, and this would have been a stronger book.

There are instances where the sources say something that is in fact quite different from what the author conveys, as with her discussion of the bibliographic treatise of the Sui shu, which she presents as utterly hostile to Buddhism. For example, she claims that while Buddhist tradition has the Buddha being born from the right side of his mother’s body, in the Sui shu “he is said to have appeared from her left: in Chinese culture, as in most other traditions, the left side is less respected and sometimes even sinister” (p. 13). This is twice incorrect, in the first place because the Sui shu does say that the Buddha was born from his mother’s right rib, and also because, as a notable exception to the “preeminence of the right” famously studied by Robert Hertz, the left side was honored in the Taoist tradition that was so dear to the Tang rulers who commissioned the treatise.[10]

Particularly problematic is the way Storch construes a passage in this source, to the effect that “Buddhism is characterized as an ‘outside doctrine’ far removed from the doctrine of the sages—that is, Confucianism. The text accuses Buddhism of tricking people through illusions and exorcisms and blames the new religion for leading China into political chaos” (p. 14). From the brush of a Tang historian, these would be by all means remarkable indictments. It is on the basis of this analysis that further on one reads, “Confucians objected to Buddhism so strongly that they consistently excluded Buddhist scriptures from the official catalogs of Chinese books” (p. 25). The passage Storch has in mind, however, appears to say something else: Buddhism and Taoism are here presented as “otherworldly teachings” (fangwai zhi jiao 方外之教), the “far-reaching pursuits of holy men” (shengren zhi yuanzhi 聖人之遠致), which vulgar fellows (sushi 俗士) often misunderstand and turn to abuse. Considering that the terseness of Confucian teachings shelters them from slander, the authors of the treatise treat the two religions in the same spirit, only giving their broad outlines (dagang 大綱), and appending these at the end of the four divisions of literature.[11] This seems to me a completely different story.

While not as plainly divorced from the evidence as those just mentioned, other claims in the book will appear exceedingly imaginative. One of the lost bibliographies mentioned in the Lidai sanbao ji, for example, is a Jinglun dulu 經論都錄 or “General catalogue of scriptures and treatises,” ascribed to the monk Zhi Mindu (early fourth century).[12] Storch accepts the attribution without further inquiry, and goes on to make several remarkable assumptions from the mere reading of this title: that lun 論 here means “commentaries,” notably ones by Chinese Buddhists, and that therefore Zhi Mindu stands out in early Buddhist bibliography for the place he accorded to indigenous Chinese writings (pp. 30, 40, 193). There seems to be no ground for such a leap of speculation, as lun can refer of course—indeed, in the first place—to Indian Buddhist treatises. Thus the first section of Sengyou’s Chu sanzang ji ji bears precisely the title Jinglun lu 經論錄, and lists translations of Indic sūtras, śāstras, and even vinaya texts, but certainly no Chinese compositions.[13]

Probably the most controversial claims in the book are those regarding the respective value of the catalogues of Dao’an and Sengyou on the one hand, and of Fei Zhangfang on the other. Storch, as we have seen, goes against the mainstream, as she tends to trust the latter at the same time that she puts a dent in the credibility of the former two. She presents Dao’an as often impressionistic in his attributions, relying more “on his own sense of authorship” than on objective data (pp. 146–147), and yet using those very attributions as standards against the uncertified mass of anonymous translations; her Sengyou comes across as a censor, compared at one point to the Church Father Jerome “for targeting certain texts solely on the basis of personal animosity and prejudice” (p. 177), otherwise resting somewhat uncritically on his distant model. These are startling views in many ways, but once again they do not seem to be based on solid evidence or reasoning.

It is unclear, for example, why Storch assumes that “Daoan’s decision to place the anonymous translations toward the end of his classification was an indication that he did not fully trust their authenticity” (p. 33). This is in fact part of a more general thesis, repeated throughout the book, that “anonymous texts were viewed as inauthentic” (p. 35 and passim), and that Dao’an, building on Confucian models, was seminal in establishing this criterion of scriptural verification for future generations of Buddhist bibliographers. Scholars have noticed for some time the growing tendency, in medieval China, to bring the number of anonymous translations to a minimum by inflating spurious attributions to well-reputed translators such as An Shigao, Zhu Fahu, or Kumārajīva, although the trend is really only attested since the Liang dynasty (502–557) and the systematic interference of its rulers in matters of Buddhist orthodoxy.[14] Seeing the absence of a named translator as a problem seems to have started from there rather than with Dao’an. Be that as it may, nowhere in the catalogues are anonymous translations excluded or set aside as inauthentic on this ground only, as anyone acquainted with Chinese Buddhist bibliographies and canonical collections will know. Buddhist tradition had its own litmus test in the doctrine of the four mahāpadeśas or great sources of authority, which boils down to the bafflingly simple prescription that any discourses attributed to the Buddha should be verified against what was known as sūtra and vinaya.[15] This standard was introduced to China since at least the third century CE, and it was certainly known to Dao’an and Sengyou.[16] Especially in the early stages when Chinese Buddhists could only be sorely aware of their limited access to the full extent of the Buddha’s word, the only way that this could be done was to test the new and unknown vis-à-vis the known, so that translations with a safe origin would inevitably be used as touchstones.

It is first of all against this background, I believe, that one should assess Dao’an’s attributions of translation authorship. They were by no means infallible, to be sure, as recent research has shown on occasion—but neither were they based entirely on impression, since this monk was privy to a handful of early texts that had been handed down with prefaces, commentaries, and colophons anchoring them to given translators, so that he would be able at least to make informed comparisons in his evaluations of anonymous texts.[17] As for Sengyou’s catalogue, Storch does not seem to be aware of the complexity of its textual history—involving different chronological layers and reflected in internal inconsistencies—which will bear on the ideological positions she reads in this landmark work of Buddhist bibliography.[18] The Chu sanzang ji ji does present problems which largely still await adequate treatment (none of which is addressed here in any case), but it would indeed be damning to the high reputation it still enjoys among scholars if it should be proved, as Storch claims, that its author disregarded the very existence of a number of early catalogues out of some kind of agenda. As it turns out, the key witness to put Sengyou in the dock (unwittingly, to be sure) is Fei Zhangfang, whose Lidai sanbao ji lists these lost bibliographies and refers to them passim, while naming several third- and fourth-century figures as their authors. Storch, as we have seen, trusts him; I do not, nor does Tan Shibao, among so many others. Tan took the trouble to check all of Fei’s references to these works, and found them to be laden with inconsistencies and anachronisms, bordering on skullduggery.[19] This is no proof that the catalogues in question never existed, or that Fei made them up, but it does suggest that they were fabrications produced somewhat later than the time of their putative authors. Sengyou, who in the Chu sanzang ji ji rants at one point against the “mean scholars and nonentities” (louxue xiaowen 陋學謏聞) who in his times were hijacking the practice of Buddhist bibliography under imperial sponsorship, would have had good reason to dismiss such dubious records, assuming they all already existed around him.[20]

This sorry mess, however, should be largely laid at other doors than those of Fei Zhangfang, and on this account at least I would agree with Storch’s atypical absolution of his work, albeit for altogether different reasons. At the very end of his Lidai sanbao ji, Fei candidly acknowledges that he had never seen most of the more than thirty catalogues he mentions—including those attributed to Zhu Shixing, Zhi Mindu, Zhu Fahu, and Nie Daozhen—to which he was therefore only referring second-hand.[21] Had he been the forger many have held him to be, I suspect he would rather have faked his knowledge of those sources, if not the sources themselves. What he appears to have done instead is simply to piece together data and records from his authorities, less mindful of their mutual consistency than of his own grand historical vision. Fei is honest enough to tell us which catalogues he had actually consulted, only six in all.[22] Two of them, by Sengyou and Fajing respectively, are still with us; of the remaining four that are no longer extant, it is the lost work of Baochang that has the greatest odds of being behind most of the attributions in Fei’s book, as Tokiwa Daijō had sensibly observed long ago.[23]

The foregoing remarks, which it would be easy but tedious to multiply, are there to suggest that Storch may have been somewhat unenterprising in her use of both primary sources and scholarly studies. This is a pity for such an obviously interesting piece of research, but while I finally find myself to have learned more perhaps from its oversights than from its doubtlessly significant findings, no judicious reader should ignore the perspectives it opens.

You don’t judge a book by its cover, after all. However, it now appears to me that you can judge it to a fair extent by its bibliography, and this will apply as much to the present volume as to the dizzying plethora of the Chinese Buddhist canons.

Notes

[1]. See Collins Dictionary, s.v. “Tripitaka,” https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/tripitaka#tripitaka__1  (accessed on November 20, 2016).

[2]. Mentions of a “Chinese Tripiṭaka” are everywhere in the literature, though the palm of the clumsiest should probably go to the hybrid Sanskrit-Japanese coinage “Saṃgaṇikīkṛtaṃ Taiśotripiṭakaṃ” styling the home page of the otherwise excellent SAT database of Chinese Buddhist texts in the Taishō canon.

[3]. Storch and other scholars date this catalogue to 597, although it was in fact submitted to the throne on February 4, 598 (Kaihuang era 17/12/23), see T.2034, vol. 49, 120b10. The spelling Zhangfang for the characters 長房 corresponds to a meaningful name in Chinese, and should be preferred to the Changfang that Storch and some others use.

[4]. For a good summary of the problems with the Lidai sanbao ji, including further references, see Jan Nattier, A Guide to the Earliest Chinese Buddhist Translations: Texts from the Eastern Han 東漢 and Three Kingdoms 三國 Periods (Tokyo: The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology – Soka University, 2008), 14–15, 14n25.

[5]. See Ōfuchi Ninji 大淵忍爾, “The Formation of the Taoist Canon,” in Facets of Taoism: Essays in Chinese Religion, ed. Holmes Welch and Anna Seidel (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979), 253–267.

[6]. Cf. Silvio Vita, “Printings of the Buddhist ‘Canon’ in Modern Japan,” in Buddhist Asia 1: Papers from the First Conference of Buddhist Studies Held in Naples in May 2001, ed. Giovanni Verardi and Silvio Vita (Kyoto: Italian School of East Asian Studies, 2003), 217–245.

[7]. Cf. the partly similar remarks in Kyoko Tokuno, “The Evaluation of Indigenous Scriptures in Chinese Buddhist Bibliographical Catalogues,” in Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, ed. Robert Buswell, Jr. (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1990), 32. Storch’s references on the printed editions of the canon (p. 140n25) disappointingly make no room for the one extensive introduction to this topic that no scholar interested in it should really afford missing, i.e., Stefano Zacchetti, In Praise of the Light: A Critical Synoptic Edition with an Annotated Translation of Chapters 1-3 of Dharmaraka’s Guangzan jing光讚經, Being the Earliest Chinese Translation of the Larger Prajñāpāramitā (Tokyo: The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology – Soka University, 2005), 92–117.

[8]. Email communication from Alison Kleczewski (University of Hawai‘i Press), November 17, 2016, in response to my query.

[9]. See Sui shu (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1973), vol. 4, 1094. It is not even accurate that the Lidai sanbao ji lists more sūtras of the Small Vehicle than of the Great Vehicle, as it gives a total count of 425 for the former (the actual number listed being 444, including variant translations) and of 469 (actually 557) for the latter: see T.2034, vol. 49, 115b24–26, 115c6–119a27 and 109b7–8, 109b13–114b11.

[10]. See Sui shu, vol. 4, 1095. On the Taoist preference for the left, see, for example, Stephen R. Bokenkamp, Early Daoist Scriptures (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 222–224. On the Chinese exceptions to the left-right dualism in anthropology, see Marcel Granet, “La droite et la gauche en Chine,” Bulletin de l’Institut Français de Sociologie 3, no. 3 (1933), 87–116; English translation in Right & Left: Essays on Dual Symbolic Classification, ed. Rodney Needham (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1973), 43–58. The same volume (pp. 3–31) also includes a translation of Hertz’s classic “La prééminence de la main droite: étude sur la polarité religieuse” (originally published in 1909).

[11]. See Sui shu, vol. 4, 1099.

[12]. T.2034, vol. 49, 74a7–9.

[13]. T.2145, vol. 55, 5c16.

[14]. Among the first modern scholars to raise this problem in Buddhist bibliography one should mention Tomomatsu Entai 友松円諦: see his “Sûtrâlaṃkâra et Kalpanâmaṇḍitikâ,” Journal Asiatique 219 (1931), 151–157.

[15]. For two rather different interpretations of this elusive indication, see L. S. Cousins, “Pali Oral Literature,” in Buddhist Studies: Ancient and Modern, ed. Philip Denwood and Alexander Piatigorsky (London: Curzon, 1983), 2–3; and Alexander Wynne, “The Oral Transmission of Early Buddhist Literature,” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 27, no. 1 (2004), 100–104.

[16]. See, for example, the translation of the Bannihuan jing 般泥洹經, T.6, vol. 1, 182c1–183a19; on Dao’an’s familiarity with this text, see my An Early Chinese Commentary on the Ekottarika-āgama: The Fenbie gongde lun 分別功德論 and the History of the Translation of the Zengyi ahan jing 增一阿含經 (Taipei: Dharma Drum, 2013), 99–103. Sengyou expressly refers to the four mahāpadeśas in the Chu sanzang ji ji: see T.2145, vol. 55, 38c18–20.

[17]. On these points see, for example, Nattier, Guide to the Earliest Chinese Buddhist Translations, 77–86, discussing Dao’an’s attributions to Zhi Chen 支讖 (a.k.a. Lokakṣema, fl. 168–185).

[18]. On the different layers in Sengyou’s catalogue, see Naitō Ryūō, “Shutsu sanzō kishū no senshū nenji ni tsuite” 出三藏記集の撰集年次について, Indogaku Bukkyōgaku kenkyū 印度學佛教學研究 (Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies) 7, no. 1 (1958), 162–163; and Nattier, Guide to the Earliest Chinese Buddhist Translations, 12–13. Both studies feature in Storch’s bibliography (pp. 216–217).

[19]. See Tan Shibao, Han Tang Foshi tanzhen 漢唐佛史探真 (Guangzhou: Zhongshan daxue chubanshe, 1991), 3–231, esp. 83–110.

[20]. See T.2145, vol. 55, 21c7–9.

[21] .T.2034, vol. 49, 127b24–c17. Earlier in the same section (120c6), Fei expressly mentions the catalogues by Zhu Shixing and even Dao’an as missing in his time.

[22]. T.2034, vol. 49, 125b24–127b24.

[23]. Tokiwa Daijō, Go Kan yori Sō Sei ni itaru yakkyō sōroku 後漢より宋齊に至る譯經總錄 (Tokyo: Tōhō bunka gakuin, 1938), 69–72.

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Citation: Antonello Palumbo. Review of Storch, Tanya, The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography: Censorship and Transformation of the Tripitaka. H-Buddhism, H-Net Reviews. April, 2017. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=47011

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