Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall

The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall (Chinese: 祖堂集; pinyin: Zǔtángjí; Japanese: Sodōshū) is a Chinese text compiled by two Chinese Buddhist monks in 952 during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It is the oldest existing collection of Chan encounter dialogues, dating from about half a century before the much better-known Transmission of the Lamp. After being lost for centuries, it was rediscovered by Japanese scholars in the 20th century at the Haeinsa temple in Korea, in a complete form with all twenty chapters. The text survived in the form of printing plates made during the 13th century, and not as a printed book. Much like other Chan Buddhist texts, it is written in the form of daily conversations between masters and students or between students themselves.

Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall
Traditional Chinese祖堂集
Simplified Chinese祖堂集

The Anthology is particularly important for the study of the history of Chinese, as it contains what is believed to be a good record of what vernacular northern Chinese speech was like in the 10th century. An example of a grammatical phenomenon in the text is the use of 也 as a marker of the perfect, showing a coalescence of the Classical Chinese particles 也 and 矣 .

sēng wèn jū cǐ duōshǎo nián yě
monk ask live PROX more-less year PRF
'The monk asked how many years you've lived here.' (book 4 86.5)

See alsoEdit


  • Sun, Chaofen (1996). Word-Order Change and Grammaticalization in the History of Chinese. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804724180.
  • Yanagida, Seizan (1980). Sodöshü sakuin (An index to Zutangji). Kyoto: Research Institute of Humanities, Kyoto University.