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The Jingde Record of the Transmission of the Lamp

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The Transmission of the Lamp

The Jingde Record of the Transmission of the Lamp (traditional Chinese: 景德傳燈錄; simplified Chinese: 景德传灯录; pinyin: Jǐngdé Chuándēnglù; Wade–Giles: Ching-te Ch'uan teng lu; Japanese: Keitoku Dentō-roku), often referred to as The Transmission of the Lamp, is a 30 volume work consisting of putative biographies of the Chan (or Zen) patriarchs and other prominent Buddhist monks. It was produced in the Song dynasty by Shi Daoyuan (simplified Chinese: 释道原; traditional Chinese: 釋道原; pinyin: Shì Dàoyuán; Wade–Giles: Shih Tao-Yüen).[1] Other than the Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall, it represents the first appearance of "encounter dialogues" in the Chan tradition, which in turn are the antecedents of the famous kōan stories.

The word Jingde (景德), the first two characters of the title, refers to the Song dynasty reign name, which dates the work to between 1004 and 1007 CE. It is a primary source of information for the history of Chan Buddhism in China, although most scholars interpret the biographies as largely hagiography. The lives of the Zen masters and disciples are systematically listed, beginning with the first seven buddhas (Gautama Buddha is seventh in this list). The "Lamp" in the title refers to the "Dharma", the teachings of the Buddhism. A total of 1701 biographies are listed in the book. Volumes 1 to 3 are devoted to the history of Indian Buddhism, and the history of Buddhism in China starts in chapter 4 with Bodhidharma. Volume 29 is a collection of gathas, and volume 30 is a collection of songs and other devotional material.


  1. ^ "景德传灯录". 百度百科. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2009.

External linksEdit

The complete text (in simplified Chinese) of the Transmission of the Lamp is available from Beijing Guoxue (北京国学).